As you apply for financial aid each year, keep in mind that any loans you borrow must be paid back, while grants and scholarships typically do not. Limit the amount of loans you take on, and you’ll have less to repay after graduation.
Also, keep in mind that there are different types of loans. With federal subsidized student loans, for example, the government pays the interest that accrues while you’re in school. But with unsubsidized loans, that interest gets added to your loan balance, leaving you with more to pay off.
Be sure to pay close attention to the interest rate and the terms of any loan before borrowing—especially if you decide to take out private loans (not offered through the government). Even one percentage point can have a big impact on your final balance.