Sources of Student Finance: Personal Loans

| April 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

The average student in the U.K. will graduate with a debt of around £20,000 : debt is now considered to be an entirely normal feature of student life.  As accountancy students, you should be better placed than most to manage your finances; but life can always throw up unexpected expenses, and it is not uncommon to find that you need access to more money than you have the opportunity to earn whilst engaged in full-time study.

Interest rates are of course the critical factor when it comes to the cost of borrowing money.  The best source of credit for students, which should always be the first place that you look for credit, is the interest free overdraft facility offered by student accounts.  If you have not come straight from school, and have entered university life after a period in the workplace, you should always try to switch your bank account to a student account as soon as possible to take full advantage : it is often possible to do this nowadays before even matriculating, if you have a letter of acceptance from UCAS.

If you already have a student account, and have exhausted your overdraft, student loans offer the next best source of credit, and will offer a lower rate of interest than any of the personal loans on the market.  For many students, these loans are not an additional source of money, but rather a core requirement for survival during full-time study; so if you are already relying on your student loan to meet the cost of living, you may need to consider other sources of credit, like personal loans.

You will of course want to find the cheapest loan possible, and the cost of personal loans are of course determined by the rate of interest, and the period of the loan.  In general, short term personal loans cost the most in terms of interest rate, as the lender must profit from the transaction, and has less time to achieve this goal than with a longer term loan.  Look online at the loan calculator tools offered by the money advice websites to calculate the overall cost of a personal loan, using the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) as the most accurate measure of interest : or perhaps you can construct such a software tool yourself!  These advice sites, as well as the sites of the big banks like Santander, are the first places to look when beginning a comparison of personal loans and other banking products to find the best deal for you.

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