Financial Solutions For Families

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1 COLLEGE LITERACY ACADEMY A Family Guide On Paying For College Financial Solutions For Families

2 Understanding How To Pay For College (Second Edition) Copyright 2010, 2011 By: Educational Literacy Center All Rights Reserved No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For More Information Contact: Chuck Moore, CCFC, CAMC, CAFC Louisville, Ky Ph Cell This publication is general in nature and is not intended to give legal, accounting or investment advice. Before incorporating any ideas in this publication the reader should consult with their financial advisor, guidance counselor, or tax professional. Some of the information provide in this publication is from varies outside resources

3 Will you need to borrow money to attend college? If so, look at borrowing from the federal government first! Federal loans normally will provide lower interest rates and repayment options are much more flexible than other types of private loans. This publication will outline the differences between federal and private education loans. We will outline the different types of federal loans and the loan limits that can be borrowed. A federal student loan is a loan that is provided through the federal government and allows students and their parents to borrow money to help pay for college. They usually have low interest rates and offer attractive repayment terms, benefits and options. Normally, repayment of a subsidized federal loan (described below) does not begin until after the student leaves school. Unsubsidized student loans must be paid while the student is attending college (unless the loan is deferred). Proceeds of the funds can be used to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation. Federal student loans are distributed by the federal government and sent directly to the college that the student is attending. Once the college receives the funds they will credit the loan money toward the students educational costs. A private student loans are nonfederal loans that are used to pay for college expenses and are normally distributed by a bank or credit union. Private student loans can be variable or have variable interest rates. The interest rate charged normally is higher than federal student loans and many times when a student borrows from private lenders, the lending institution will require a credit check and a co-signer could be required.

4 Normally, federal student loans have many favorable benefits over private college loans. Federal student loans normally have a fixed interest rates, while most private loans do not. Federal student loans can provide income-based repayment plans, while private loans normally will not provide this option. In some situations federal student loans will provide loan forgiveness and deferment (postponement) options, while private loans will not provide forgiveness, but some could provide postponement or deferment in some situations. Therefore, federal student loans normally should be the first option if the student needs to borrow funds for college. Students that are freshman in college can borrow up to $5,500, which $3,500 could be subsidized (federal government pays the interest) and $2,000 unsubsidized (student is responsible for the interest that is due). If the student has NO financial need, the full $5,500 will be Unsubsized. Students that are sophomores in college can borrow up to $6,500, which $4,500 could be subsidized (federal government pays the interest) and $2,000 unsubsidized (student is responsible for the interest that is due). If the student has NO financial need, the full $6,500 will be Unsubsized. Students that are juniors and/or seniors in college can borrow up to $7,500, which $5,500 could be subsidized (federal government pays the interest) and $2,000 unsubsidized (student is responsible for the interest that is due). If the student has NO financial need, the full $7,500 will be Unsubsized. A student could qualify for an additional $4,000 if they go to college beyond four-years. The maximum undergraduate borrowing limit is $ If the student shows more need than what is available in federal borrowing limits and do not receive any other form of financial aid, parents can potentially qualify for a PLUS loan (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student). Under the PLUS loan rules, parents can borrow an amount of money to pay for college expenses up to the total cost of attending minus other forms of financial aid that the student may receive.

5 There are two types of Federal Direct Stafford loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized. Subsidized Stafford loans provide low interest rates and are available to students who demonstrate financial need based on income and other information provided on the FAFSA. A credit check is not required to receive these loans. The federal government pays the interest on these loans until six months after the student is no longer enrolled in school at least half-time. Unsubsidized Stafford loans provide low interest rates and are available to all students regardless of financial need (although the FAFSA still must be filed). A credit check is not required to receive these loans. The student is responsible for the interest, which may be paid while the student is in school or accrued and then added to the principal balance when the student enters repayment, which occurs six months after the student is no longer enrolled in school at least half-time. Plus loans are low interest loans that parents can obtain to help pay the cost of education for their children. PLUS loans require a credit check, however the credit check is not as stringent as applying for other forms of loans. Repayment of PLUS loans begins immediately once the loan is distributed. Parents of dependent students may be able to defer repayment of their PLUS loans until after the student is no longer enrolled in school at least half-time, although interest will continue to accrue. Consolidation loans allow student or parent borrowers to combine multiple federal student loans into one loan with one monthly payment. A federal consolidation loan cannot include private loans. However, some private lenders may offer consolidation loans. Borrowers should be aware that they will lose their federal borrower benefits if they consolidate their federal student loan into a private consolidation loan. Borrowers should always exhaust federal student loan options first before considering a private consolidation loan.

6 To get a federal student loan, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed. This form can be completed online at or the family can mail in a paper application. Once the FAFSA is processed, the schools the student has identified on the FAFSA will receive the information. The school will then tell the student how much financial aid is available, including grants, scholarships, work opportunities and federal student loans. Should the student choose a federal student loan, the college will provide the student with instructions on how to apply. Yes, completing the FAFSA could be complicated and sometimes very confusing. However, as we have mentioned earlier, federal student loans usually have lower interest rates and better repayment terms and options than private student loans may not provide. Also, by completing the FAFSA, colleges will use the information on the FAFSA to determine eligibility for other types of financial aid provided by the federal government, from your state, or from the school itself. This aid can include grants, scholarships and work opportunities. Before borrowing any money for college, the student and parents need to take two-step back and think about the disadvantages of going into debt. There are other ways of paying for college, other than borrowing. Borrowing money to pay for college expenses should be the LAST option taken by the student and the parents. Yes, investing into a college education is normally a good investment, but not if the cost of the education is going to affect the financial security of the student and their parents due to the debt that could occurred.

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