About the Blog – Student Loans for Parents

This blog was started by Monique Leonard in 2006.  The daughter of two accounting majors – finances were in hew blood, so to speak.  The blog is now maintained by her colleagues who still want to help people wade through the financial aid process and find student loans.

Monique at Stonehenge

As for why I’m writing this blog, I graduated college in 2002 and we’re still paying off my husband’s student loans, although to be honest we were some of the lucky ones as I had a scholarship for women in the sciences. I worked for a student loan company and global insurance companies and one thing I heard about more than anything is that people don’t understand the application process. I want parents to know what I know so they’re better prepared when all the paperwork hits.

I know my parents were overwhelmed by the process, and, well, I wasn’t exactly a big help at age 18. Most parents will be handling a good chunk of the financial aid process, and the more you know ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be when things start happening. Also, if you know how the game works you’ll be able to play it a little better.

69 Comments »

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  5. Adell said,

    There is a bit more financial help for single moms available, however, these two can be a good starting place, as well as an suggestion as to who
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  6. Renee Carlucci said,

    Help! I accidentally signed for a $2000 parent PLUS loan. Suddenly, today I receive a check in the Mail from my son’s school for $4K. Previously, I received notification of my $2k PLUS loan in writing from the loan servicer. I printed out my paperwork when I digitally signed for the PLUS loan, but it doesn’t record the loan amount. Only that the max loan amount cannot exceed “student’s annual cost of attendance minus other financial aid received for each academic year. For each loan, the school will notify me of the loan amount that I am eligible to borrow.” I have received no notifications from George Mason. According to the George Mason website, I am signed up for a $12K loan (less than $6K disbursement per semester). My son only needs $6k per semester and already had a Stafford loan for $3500 per semester and also had a payment from me for $367 for fall (what I thought he owed). How can they do this? How can they give me a loan for more than the annual costs minus other financial aid and payments? Obviously, I want to cancel. Can I? Can I avoid getting stuck with 4% charge on this loan? I didn’t want ANY loans, I thought I was required to put my FAFSA pin in for my son to get his Stafford loan.

  7. Rebecca said,

    I am in default on a parent loan due to previously being ill. They have a lien on my ss#. We want to sale our house and pay the loan off. How can we do that if they have a lien on my ss#. I am willing to have our realtor and title company write to them the first check, and the balance to us. How can this be handled?

  8. Akshay said,

    following website will be helpful in many ways on federal student loan – http://www.loans-studentloan.com/

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  10. Dalas G said,

    American savers are getting paid the lowest interest in our nations history and the current unsubsidized loans are usury by our govt on the backs of our struggling children to compete with the hordes of better (and far cheaper) educated masses in China and India and Europe. There are more honor students in China than our entire student body in the US. We are falling behind as a nation and squander our most valuable resouce, our bright young people, because of astonomical upper education costs. The govt has the nerve to call an 8% loan “financial aid”. You can buy a nice foreclosed home in the us with a loan under 4% and have something to show for your trouble. And the previous scam post for education loans for 3% do not exist. Could someone escort them o jail for preying on families?

  11. Savoy said,

    I would like to receive information regarding additional college funds or scholarships for my daughter

  12. BANADE said,

    This is fantastic you know the tips I got form your blog. keep it up. You can check out my own blog.

  13. james wong said,

    It is crazy to think about how much loans can accumulate over the years. When you’re in college you don’t really think about them. But, when you graduate and start looking for a job you are worrying about the loans you have to pay back. I would give anything to have my loans disappear! But it has helped me a lot through college despite it all.

  14. i will really need a student loan if am ever going to collage. have search online for lots of information on it, some discussion forum like http://www.jobs-loans.com gave some nice tips and yours too. i will be looking forward for more information here.
    Thanks

  15. Ryan said,

    As a result of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, beginning July 1, 2010, federal student loans will no longer be made by private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFELSM) Program. Instead, all new federal student loans will come directly from the U.S. Department of Education under the Direct Loan Program.

  16. joan said,

    Hello Monica,

    First of all I want to thank you for your great blog. My husband and I filed for bankruptcy (chapter 7) last year and got finalized this January. I would like to know where we can apply for student loan for our son regardless of the bankruptcy. We asked the school where my son is interested in attending (UCLA) for help but they said my husband makes too much money and filing the bankruptcy wiped out our debts. This is true but we don’t have $30k. We can only afford $10k with monthly installment. Is there a place we can get help?

    Thanking you in advance.

  17. Stephen said,

    Great Blog. I look forward to getting more into it. Here is a great article from hubpages that educate students about student private loans and gives them some other options before taking out loans. It is a great article and has helped me see the light. http://hubpages.com/hub/Earning-Money-For-College-Without-Taking-Student-Private-Loans

  18. Jennifer said,

    With two kids in college and debts piling higher, 3 other moms and I created a new website called http://www.Lilyslist.com (named after my daughter) to help kids pay down student loans through a gift registry. We charge $15 per year for a membership which allows each member to create their own personal fundraising page. Gift donations are directly deposited into student loan accounts. I encourage anyone with a student loan to consider using the site. Every little bit helps!

  19. loan said,

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Look forward to read more from you in the future.If interested in link exchange please contact me.

  20. how would i find out contact info for the people involved with the IBR Plan?

  21. Nadia said,

    Dear Monique,
    I am in a difficult personal situation in terms of financing education. Would you be willing to shoot me an email, so as to help with advice. I would prefer to keep my situation private.

    • Nadia,

      I’m not a financial expert. Beyond the general recommendations here, I would suggest you contact someone in the financial field. They would be a much better source of financial advice than I.

  22. Lis Sowerbutts said,

    Do you accept guest posts – if so drop me an email at the above email address

  23. Miranda said,

    Very useful blog! You provide an excellent resource for parents of college students. Thank you.

  24. Thanks for letting us post your blog on our site (www.redship.com). Feel free to post our site on your blog. Your link is on our links page (The link button is in the bottom left corner of each page). Thanks again! Lisa

  25. I have just started a business that sells college care packages and wanted to inlcude a links page of useful resources for college parents. Your blog fits the bill perfectly. Could I inlcude a link to your blog in my links section?

    Thanks!

    Lisa

  26. Justin,

    It really depends on your other income and any assets you may have. I suggest visit the US Department of Education’s EFC estimation tool, The link is: http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov. This should help determine if it will affect any other financial aid.

  27. Justin said,

    Yes, there is a small living payment, but they also have an education award of $4,725 upon successful completion of the program which is what I was referring to. I talked to someone in financial aid and they said it would not effect Pell grant, but it could effect other money. If you go after college it makes no difference I suppose.

  28. Hi Justin,

    I’m not certain how much money you receive during Americorp, but it was my understanding it was just a basic living stipend. My friends in Americorp a few years ago qualified for food stamps.

    Obviously any income will affect your “need” and expected family contribution. If that’s your only income, and you have no assets, then it likely will not affect you much.

    The department of education has a tool where you can input your income and assets, and it will estimate how much you’re expected to pay out of pocket. The link is: <http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/

  29. Justin said,

    Can getting the educational money by participating in Americorps make your “need” go down and thus lose money from other means?

  30. Bob Ugiansky said,

    Your blog is great. The public service website I work on has lots of info on financial aid as well. Please feel free to use Adventures In Education (www.AIE.org) as a resource whenever you see fit. Thanks!

  31. Hi Lisa,

    The government will take your new information into account; that’s the point of the FAFSA, to document your current financial circumstances. As you are the custodial parent, your income will be on the FAFSA, as well as your son’s.

  32. Lisa Benson said,

    Hi! I am a divorced parent of a 2nd year college student and wondered if you would know if the FAFSA takes this into consideration for qualifying for grants. When I was married the annual income was too high to qualify, but now my sole annual adjusted groos income is $40,000 and my son’s parttime income is around $7,500.

  33. Hi Kim,

    Thanks so much for sharing. I think your article offers great strategies for saving money and finding more aid.

  34. Kim Clark said,

    Hi. I cover higher ed for US News & World Report. I’m focusing a lot on financing college and sometimes even break a little news. Here’s a piece I just posted reporting that more students may have to drop out because they have unpaid tuition bills and can’t register for the second semester. That seemed like something you might be interested in.
    It looks like the wave of economic problems is starting to swamp colleges. This exclusive story reports troubling indications from registrars’ offices across the country. And we offer some good advice about what to do if you can’t pay your college bills.
    http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/2009/01/09/unpaid-college-tuition-bills-rise-survey-finds.html
    I hope you like the story.

    I have also started a blog called college cash 101 where I try to answer questions about financial aid.

    I hope you find it useful.

    Kim Clark
    US News & World Report
    1050 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
    Washington, DC 20007
    (202) 955-2064

  35. Dear anonymous,

    I have a policy of not emailing people back as a way to maintain my own privacy. If you’d like your name removed, either post another comment with your name (and i’ll remove both), or tell me which article you posted on and the timestamp of your comment and i’ll remove your private information.

    Thanks.

  36. Wanting to remain anonymous said,

    Monique,

    I posted a comment on here with my actual name on it about a year ago…is there any way I can get my name off? If you could e-mail me and let me know, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks!

  37. Gina,

    I’m not aware of any loan forgiveness programs for community college professors, but you can call the federal Department of Education to ask.

    And no, I am not aware of any class action lawsuits.

  38. gina m said,

    Hello
    I have exorbitant medical and law loans. I teach at a small rural communty college – in the sciences. I understand there are underserved areas for high school but not a community college. Is this true?
    Anyone know how to get my school covered or get me help? Do I go to the PA dept of education? Governor?

    Anyone know who the leading attornies are helping the class action cases? Anyone know of firms to help out? I am in over 250k.

    g

  39. Hi Bob, feel free to link to this blog!

  40. Bob Blick said,

    Monique – I am working on adding a link page to my site on student loans at http://www.student-loans-digest.com and I came across your blog. This is very informative and I will add a link to it with your permission.

    In researching information about financial help for college – things change often and a blog like this will be helpful to my visitors.

  41. Joseph said,

    Hi – I graduated from law school in 2004 and have been in the public sector ever since. After graduation, I consolidated my loans with American Education Services and I got a great interest rate (I think about 4 or 5 %). If I want to participate int the loan forgiveness program, I have to reconsolidate, correct? If so, could my interest rate actually go up? Should I consolidate right away? If it turns out I don’t make it another 10 years in the public sector, am I in a worse position than if I never signed up with the program? How can I figure out what is best for me?

  42. Mark said,

    Feel free to post your question, I’ll be happy to share any knowledge I have or perhaps give you some links where you might find the information if I can’t answer your question.

  43. Craig said,

    Hello everyone,
    I would like to add this site here that has helped me with finding the information I was looking for. I hope you find it as usefull as I did.
    Good Luck.

    http://www.juiste.net/student-loan/

  44. Hi Andrea,

    Feel free to link to my site but I would hesitate to use my “articles” in full on your site. Most of my articles are really summarizations of news story, or excerpts of them as provided for by the Fair Use Doctrine and I link to the original authors every time. I can’t take credit for that as original work, as I merely summarize and organize it so other people can find it more easily. 🙂

    If you want to link here with a summary, or quote what I’ve actually written myself, please feel free, but I don’t want to introduce any legal foibles regarding copyright infringement as I’m not the copyright holder nor author of the excerpts I quote. So I’d recommend against copying the articles over fully, as is.

    Good luck on your site!

  45. Andrea said,

    Monique: While I was waiting to hear from you I looked at my post and realized I didn’t include that you would receive full credit for the article and that the article would have a link to your site.
    Best regards

  46. Hi Valerie,

    I’m assuming you mean NCO Financial? I don’t know much about them, but a little googling showed me that they tend to get loans that are defaulted on.

    Feel free to post your question, I’ll be happy to share any knowledge I have or perhaps give you some links where you might find the information if I can’t answer your question.

  47. Valerie said,

    Monique,

    I love your website- it’s very informative. I wish that it was here when I was going through the process myself. I do have a couple of questions that I’m hoping you can answer for me. It’s about loan repayments and the NCO.

  48. Andrea said,

    Monique: My site is not up yet but it is an hourly full and part-time employment site that includes information about student loans. I would love to add some of your articles to my site. I look forward to hearing from you.

  49. Thank Guy, that’s very nice of you to say.

    I wish you luck on your website! Feel free to link to my blog, I do it so people have a place they can come and find the latest news.

  50. Guy McD said,

    Hi,

    I love your site and what you are doing personally to help people. Good job! I’ve started my own site to help people avoid or overcome student debt burdens.

    There is also a forum there where people dealing with student loans in anyway can talk and support each other or post news.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to add your site to my site’s list of links. If you’d like to add my site to yours, that’d be great, but it isn’t necessary.

    Cheers,
    Guy

    [Edited to remove website URL with inappropriate content]

  51. 🙂

  52. Lynn said,

    Hi Monique,

    I’ve been reading about doing graduate work at King’s College London and stumbled upon your blog. As an american, I would love to hear a little more about your experience there because I am considering studying there in the fall. If you wouldn’t mind emailing me, I would really appreciate it!

    Thanks,
    Lynn

  53. Thanks, CHB, that’s very nice of you to say.

    The only advice I can offer you is to stay current. Never stop reading, never stop researching.

    Good luck!

  54. CHB said,

    Hi Monique,

    I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now, and am trying to motivate myself to start a similar blog to help others (I’ve worked in financial aid offices the past few years). Would you be willing to email me to offer your advice on your financial aid blogging experience? I plan on concentrating more on student loans than parent loans. I would appreciate anything you have to say on the subject, Thanks!

  55. Nice blog Monique, with lots of relevant and perhaps unexpected information that possibly would be hard to find elsewhere.

    I love the photo, which seems to sum up your love of life!

    Martin

  56. Renée said,

    Love your blog! You provide an excellent resource for parents of college students, and I have listed you as such on my blog.

    I hope you will consider blogrolling me, The Empty Nest, “A 50-something mom’s journey sending an only child off to college. Sharing laughter, experiences, and resources for fellow parents of college students.” http://theemptynestblog.blogspot.com

    Please contact me at rt4563@gmail.com.

    Thanks,

    Renée

  57. Love your blog! I have just launched a web site dedicated to raising money to support college students and graduates who have incurred substantial student loan debt. I would like to exchange links with you. Please contact me at kbostwick@mchsi.com

    Thanks,
    Kerry

  58. financemedia said,

    I would like to exchange links with your blog. I have some financial blogs and sites. Please contact me at: charls413@yahoo.com

    Thanks

  59. Thanks, Bill. I try to keep my own political vewout of the bog, but if any of my readers are interested, Bill has listed the link above. For those of you who aren’t sure, YDA stands for the Yound Democrats of America.

    • Tracy said,

      Dear Monica:

      You are so fantastic. I am going through such a thing with the SalleMae company. I have been paying on my loan for 1 1/2 yrs. And while looking at my account, none of the money is going toward the principal, they are putting all the money toward the interest, so they can be sure to get the money for them first. My bill is constantly going up instead of down. I have requested a different payment date, no I can not have this, a deferrment because of hardship, no I can not have this. Then when I pay, it takes four days at their end to post, then they charge me a late fee. A $4,000 loan will cost me $7k. They need to be put out of business. I trusted this as a good thing for a person, but they are not. What can I do to take fight them, with others, I would travel to wherever to go to court and stop this terrible injustice. To help others who are trying to become something in life. Thank you Tracy Roe

  60. Bill said,

    FYI, YDA is doing an SMS petition in support of cutting interest rates. The info is @ http://www.yda.org/collegeaffordability

  61. Thanks for the inquiry, Mr. Rivand. And check your email.

  62. Ry Rivard said,

    I’m a staff writer with the Daily Athenaeum, the college newspapers of West Virginia University. I’m working on a story on the College Student Relief Act of 2007. If you have time to talk about your perspective, I’d appreciate it. My deadline is 5pm, EST, Wednesday.


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