Attention: Money 101 will no longer be available after May 31, 2021. After that time the Enrich financial literacy tool will be available at moving forward.

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Paying For College - Head Matters


2. Smart Consumer

Using student loans wisely
Part of being a smart consumer of higher education is looking at whether you’ll be able to comfortably repay any student loans that you’ll need to borrow. Experts advise that debt repayment costs ideally make up 10% or less of your income. If you know what fields you might want to pursue after you graduate from college, even if you have a few that you’re considering, you can use College In Colorado’s SLOPE calculator on the College In Colorado website to find out how much you can comfortably borrow in student loans based on your expected starting salary. 

Don’t forget that if you charge on a credit card or borrow from family to attend college, those loans will need to be repaid as well.  Also, most federal student loans have substantially lower interest rates than other loans or credit cards.  If you're planning to borrow, always consider federal loans first!

College In Colorado's SLOPE calculator
SLOPE stands for Student Loans Over Projected Earnings -- the ratio of your student loan debt to your first year income. In other words, the SLOPE calculator will determine what percentage of your anticipated income from a career choice will be used to pay off your student loans each year. 

The SLOPE Calculator determines:

  • How much interest you will have to repay if you choose to wait to pay interest on an unsubsidized Stafford Loan until after you are out of college
  • How much your monthly student loan payments will be (after adding in the interest)
  • What percent of your income will go to paying off student loans based upon a career choice


How much student loan can you afford to borrow?
A good estimate is to not borrow more than you’ll make in your first year working after graduation.

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