Office of Enrollment Management

Managing Debt

What is Debt?

Debt is when you borrow money from a lender, such as a bank, family member, friend, or business. You repay the loan with interest, which is the cost of borrowing money. Loans may also be called notes.

Key Points

Interest: Cost of borrowing, not including the fees

APR: Total loan cost, including fees, usually higher than the interest rate

Before taking a loan, consider its total costs and explore alternatives.

Types of Loans

Fixed Rate: Interest rate stays the same

Variable Rate: Interest rate can change impacting monthly payments

Secured Loans: Require collateral

Unsecured Loans: Based on credit history with no collateral needed

Tips for Managing Debt

Shop Around: Compare interest rates and fees to save money.

Understand Costs: Use an APR calculator to see the true cost of a loan.

Consider Alternatives: Think about whether you need the loan or if there is another way to purchase the item.

College Cost Meter

MUSC students receive a personalized college cost analysis annually via email. This report details the total federal student loans a student has taken at any institution and provides an estimate on the monthly loan repayment based on standard repayment. Use this tool to understand what you are taking on in debt and adjust your budget. 

Students may self-enroll in our Brightspace Financial Literacy course to explore more on car loans, credit cards, debt resources, and paying down debt.