These are 10 ways parents can borrow smarter for college
Before taking out a federal PLUS loan to help pay for your child's college costs, make sure to do this first.
Know your true cost. Some schools include Parent PLUS loans in the financial aid package presented to accepted students, creating confusion about the true cost of attendance."Many families, especially those whose children are first-generation U.S. college students, don't realize this is a loan because of how it shows up on the aid letter," says Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors. If the aid package is difficult to decipher, reach out to the financial aid office for help and a breakdown without the PLUS loan.
Think twice before you agree to take out a Parent PLUS loan to pay for your child's dream college. About a tenth of parents defaulted or were seriously late with payments within just two years of their child leaving school.fizkes/Getty ImagesMax out student loans first.
Federal student loans for undergraduates carry interest rates of 3.73 percent for the 2021-2022 school year, almost half of the 6.28 percent rate for parents under the PLUS loan program. Loans to students also come with a wider variety of repayment plans, and may offer partially subsidized interest. So before you even consider a PLUS loan, have your child borrow in their own name first: up to $5,500 for freshmen, $6,500 for sophomores, $7,500 for juniors and seniors. If you have the financial means, you can always help them with the payments later. headtopics.com
Calculate the hit to your lifestyle.Because you will likely be taking out more than one PLUS loan to cover your child's education, it's important to think long-term. If you borrow $15,000 this year, you'll owe $170 a month for the next 10 years. Factor in similar borrowing for another three years and you'll be $60,000 in debt and owe $679 a month. Breaking it down this way shows the loan's impact on your future ability to afford day-to-day expenses, save for retirement or pay off other debt, like your mortgage.
Look into other ways to pay. Read more: Newsweek »
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