Parent PLUS FAQs: Which Loan Should You Get: A Parent PLUS Loan or a Private Education Loan?

Today, our ongoing series of Parent PLUS loan FAQs tackles just one question, but it's one a lot of families are pondering. Which loan should you get: a Parent PLUS Loan or a private student loan? This is that time of year when many parents are trying to determine whether they should use a Direct Parent PLUS loan or a private education loan to pay for college when financial aid and family resources fall short. The Parent PLUS loan is available only from the federal government (and only to parents of dependent students who submit a FAFSA). Private education loans are...Read More
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Making This FAFSA Mistake Could Be Very Costly

2014 FAFSA Processing ErrorFirst, the bad news: Nearly 200,000 students inadvertently entered inflated income or other financial information into their 2014-15 FAFSAs, according to officials at the U.S. Department of Education.  A design flaw in the federal government’s online aid applicationmade it easy to accidentally enter cents as dollars. So, an income of, say, $21,375.45 might accidentally be entered as $2,137,545, which means these students could be missing out on Federal Pell Grants or other need-based aid. That’s...Read More
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Federal Student Loan Options for the 2014-15 Financial Aid Award Year

So you have been admitted to college, received your award letter and paid your housing deposit. Your next step is to figure out, from your award letter, what types of student loans you may be eligible to receive and to determine whether and how much you need to borrow under each of the loan programs offered to you. Your award letter could list one or more types of federal student loans that you are eligible to receive as a student borrower.  Loan options for undergraduate student borrowers...Read More
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If It's Summer, It's Scholarship Search Time

Yes, the pool beckons, you need to catch up on your z's, and perhaps you've got a summer job. But you've still got some free time, right?  What's the best way to spend those extra hours?  If you'll be a high school junior or senior this fall, your parents and high school guidance counselors will tell you to hit the scholarship search trail. You don't have to go very far. Just log onto the Internet to take advantage of scholarship search engines and other online resources. To help you jump-start...Read More
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I Can’t Download My IRS Tax Return Transcript – Now What?

As you may know, some students are required to go through the process of verifying their FAFSA information prior to their schools being able to award any type of financial aid to them (via the award letter). As part of the verification process, a student may have to submit a copy of the parents’ Federal Tax Return Transcript and, if the student worked, a copy of the student's tax return transcript as well. IRS Get TranscriptFor many students and parents, this is an easy, online process via the IRS...Read More
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Jumping Financial Hurdles: Paying for College

Lately, everywhere I turn, I hear about the staggering statistics regarding recently graduated students in debt. Many argue that a college education is not worth it nowadays, and the truth is education is expensive. I am a first generation college student, and, although graduating high school was hard, applying and being accepted into college was harder. Paying for college however, proved to be the toughest challenge of all. Coming from a low-income family, I didn’t have any financial resources...Read More
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Parent PLUS Loan FAQs: Deferment, Forbearance, and Loan Discharge Benefits

Our latest Parent PLUS FAQs – questions 34 through 41 – highlight key benefits of federal education loans: deferment, forbearance, and loan discharge. Deferment and forbearance benefits are designed to help financially-stressed borrowers avoid delinquency or default on their federal education loans. The government’s relatively new, loan-forgiveness programs can assist parents who have low-income jobs or who have pursued public service careers. What if I can't make my Parent PLUS loan payments? Federal education loans offer both deferment and...Read More
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5/29 is National College Savings Plan Day

Today is May 29th, so if you turn on the TV news or flip open a newspaper, you may see stories about National 529 Savings Plan Day, aka National College Savings Plan Day. Total Assets in 529 College Savings PlansCreated by Congress in 1996 and not-so-cleverly named after – you guessed it – a section in the IRS tax code, 529 plans are tax-advantaged savings plans that parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others can establish to help pay for a child’s college education. These plans require sponsorship by a state or a college or...Read More
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Parent PLUS Loan FAQs: Answers to Your Questions About PLUS Loan Repayment Options

Parent PLUS Loan FAQs: The 2014 EditionIn the fourth installment in the Blog’s ongoing series of Parent PLUS FAQs — The 2014 Edition, we’re answering Questions 25 through 33, all of which deal with repayment options. Parents can choose from a variety of repayment plans and choose when to start making payments: now or later. There are rules, of course. When do parents have to start repaying their Federal PLUS loans? You can choose one of two options:
  • Start repayment sooner. PLUS loans actually enter repayment once the entire loan amount is disbursed. The first payment due date can...
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Parent PLUS Loan FAQs: Just Which Parent Can Apply for a Parent PLUS Loan?

Parent PLUS LOAN FAQs - 2014 Edition In the third installment in our 2014 Parent PLUS Loan FAQs — covering frequently asked questions #20 through #24 — the Blog answers queries about the rules that determine who is deemed to be a PLUS-eligible parent.  The parent borrower can be a biological or adoptive parent or a stepparent. And although Mom and Dad can each take out a PLUS loan, they won't be asked to sign each other's application. Read on for details.   Parent PLUS loans are available to the student’s biological...Read More
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