Narrowing down career options can help you borrow a smart amount.

6 Steps to Determine How Much to Borrow for College

As long as you're prepared and frugal, student debt can be helpful, some experts attest.

Narrowing down career options can help you borrow a smart amount.

Narrowing down career options can help you borrow a smart amount.

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[Read common private student loan complaints.] 

Even if you were to borrow the same amount, you could end up paying more for one loan than another, in interest or in missed opportunities to have some debt forgiven. Make sure to thoroughly research your options to see which best fits your situation. 

6. Keep a healthy mindset about debt: The horror stories of students drowning in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt are, in reality, quite rare, financial aid expert Kantrowitz wrote in a recent paper, "Who Graduates College with Six-Figure Student Loan Debt?" Before you start to fret about student loans ruining your life, keep in mind that well-researched, manageable amounts of student debt can add a variety of positive aspects to your educational experience, including motivation and real-life training, financial aid experts have noted. 

"I think we've given the impression to some parents and students that borrowing at all is dangerous when it comes to college," says Lindeman of Macalester College. "So, it's a nuanced message that's difficult to deliver quickly and easily, but I think a reasonable amount of student debt can be one of the best investments a student will ever make." 

Trying to fund your education? Get tips, news, and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.