May 2, 2014

Insurance Options for Students and Recent Graduates

Posted in Graduate Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Saving for College, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , at 10:00 AM by InsuranceGuru


Now that summer is coming, you might want to consider insurance options for your son or daughter who is heading off to school next fall.  Your best bet to start, read this article on GradInsurance.com:

Choosing a Student Insurance Plan

There are many factors to consider.  Start with listing out your priorities, needs and special circumstances.  Talk with your school officials, your insurance agent and friends.  Then do your research.  Most importantly, read the terms of the policy you are considering buying very carefully.  Many policies will appear to cover one thing but when you read the exclusions, that one thing is excluded…

Some sites for student insurance to help in your research:

If you choose a plan that is not one offered by your school, you ill likely be asked by the school to complete a waiver. To be eligible for waiver of the university-sponsored insurance, the student’s insurance plan must meet some or all of the following criteria.  You school’s list may be different so check with them…

To be eligible for waiver:

  1. The plan must cover a minimum of $500,000 US in medical benefits due to illness, accident, or injury per plan year.
  2. The plan must have a deductible of no more than $5,000 US per covered person per plan year. (Note: Plans without a deductible meet this requirement.)
  3. The plan must cover prescription medications both in the hospital and out of the hospital to a minimum of $100,000 US per plan year.
  4. The plan must have no restrictions for coverage of any pre-existing health condition.
  5. The plan must cover biologically-based mental health conditions at the same level as other medical conditions.
  6. The plan must cover care related to pregnancy and delivery, including newborn care for the first 30 days of life.
  7. The plan must not exclude care for self-inflicted injury, intercollegiate athletics, and recreational activities.
  8. The plan must be in force for the duration of the academic year, or through the end of the month in which graduation occurs or the student’s academic program ends.

Above all do your research so you can make an educated decision.

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September 12, 2012

Student Loan Repayment and Consolidation

Posted in Graduate Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News tagged , , , , , at 4:44 PM by Joe From Boston


We often get questions about repayment of student loans and loan consolidation options.  Here is a quote from the Student Loan Network website:

Student loan repayment should be seriously considered prior to taking on debt. Typically, it will take students 10 to 20 years after graduation before they are able to repay their student loans in full.”

Review all of your loan documents to insure you know how much you owe.  Talk with your lenders about repayment plans.  Do a budget and figure out where you are spending your money and if there are ways you can save.

The general advice is to make sure you pay off your high interest debt first. Generally federal loans have more favorable repayment terms than private loans – so weigh your options carefully.  Finally, consider consolidating your loans to reduce the number of payments you have to make.  (note: you will want to keep your private and federal loans in separate consolidation.  Consolidating private loans with federal loans may eliminate the benefits of the federal loan programs).

For more information, visit: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/students/repay/

December 28, 2011

Student Loan Options for 2012

Posted in Legislation Affecting Students, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , at 1:32 PM by Joe From Boston


Looking into our crystal ball, we see tuitions continuing to rise.  At the same time, state and federal governments are reducing the amount of funding available to pay for college.  For a quick refresher on your financial aid options, check out our Financial Aid Roadmap to get some insight.

The bottom line, you are going to have to be creative in funding your child’s education going forward.  Search for scholarships, talk with your financial aid office, ask friends and family for help.  As a last options, consider loans.  Some tops student loan sites include:

August 28, 2011

How do I Fill the Gap between what College Costs and the Financial Aid Awarded?

Posted in Graduate Students, Grants, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Saving for College, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , at 12:48 PM by plusloans


Struggling with finding the last dollar to pay that college tuition bill???  Here is a good overview of the challenges and some options to manage them…

It is no secret that college is expensive and tuition costs are continuing to rise. We put together the infographic below to examine the costs associated with a college education, including the hidden costs you may not be factoring in like health fees, gas money, entertainment and all the Red Bull you’ll consume during finals. The graphic also outlines how funding occurs and how students can fill the gaps left in paying for college. Feel free to share with your fellow students, friends and family!

Link: http://www.privatestudentloans.com/fill-the-gap/

August 10, 2011

Parent PLUS or Private Loan: Which is Better?

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News tagged , , , , at 4:56 PM by plusloans


One question that comes up a lot from parents is how to fund the remainder of your child’s education, after federal loans of course. There are a variety of options out there including Federal PLUS loans and private college loans. It can be difficult to decide on which loan is right for your family, so to help you in the process, I’ve explained some of the major benefits and drawbacks of each below.

Parent PLUS Loans

Parent plus loans are available through the government and offer a variety of benefits. Benefits such as deferment, forbearance, and even some cancellation options are a perk of PLUS loans that are not always available with private loans. However, the interest rate is a fixed 7.9%, and higher than some private loans.

One of the most common questions from parents about the PLUS loan is in regards to the credit check. The credit check for PLUS loans is minimal and it’s mostly to make sure that there is no recent bankruptcy or adverse history on record within the past 5 years. If you’re still concerned that your credit will hinder your ability to receive the loan, you should continue with the application process, as students whose parent’s get denied a PLUS loan are entitled to further Stafford loans (at lower interest rates than the PLUS).

>>Read more answers to Parent PLUS loan FAQs

Private Loans

Private loans may actually be a better option than the PLUS loan for some families. Interest rates are now very competitive and come in both fixed and variable. This would allow for less interest over the lifetime of the loan than the Parent PLUS. You should also note that while the loan holder in this case is the student, most loans will suggest that a parent cosign for the student, which is generally a good idea anyway, as it improves approval chances and may lower the interest rate for the loan.

A downside of private loans is that many of the repayment benefits that you find with federal loans are not all available, however, the lower interest rates could outweigh this point. There are also other benefits of private loans to consider, such as the disbursal method. Unlike federal loans, private loans get disbursed directly to the student, so they can pay for immediate expenses such as books, or room and board.

>>Compare private student loan options

There is no real answer to “what is the best loan” because this is too subjective and is different for everyone. There are a lot of different factors to consider when looking into funding your child’s education and it comes down to not which loan is the best, but which is best for your family. To help you decide, you’ll simply have to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

January 27, 2011

Five websites to help pay for college

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 9:35 AM by plusloans


Here is a list of 5 useful websites from Edvisors that will help you pay for college:

1) http://www.StudentScholarshipSearch.com – Offers a free open directory of scholarships for college.

2) http://www.ScholarshipSearch.com – A college student membership rewards program; join, earn points, win free scholarships!

3) http://www.StudentLoanNetwork.com – Everything you need to know about student loans and a great overview of financial aid in general.

4) http://www.FinancialAidNews.com – Daily news updates on financial aid, scholarships and paying for college.

5) http://www.FinancialAidForum.com – A financial aid discussion board discussing all things relating to paying for college.

January 12, 2011

5 Financial Aid Tips for 2011

Posted in FAFSA, Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Scholarships, Stafford Loans, Student Loan News, The Financial Aid Process tagged , , , , , , , at 1:19 PM by plusloans


Here is another list – this time about financial aid:

  1. Complete the FAFSA application to qualify for federal and institutional financial aid.  Applying early will increase your eligibility for aid.  Those who wait may loose out.
  2. Once you complete the FAFSA, apply for scholarships.  There are thousands of private and free scholarship programs.  Again, apply early to get the best chance of securing money for 2011.
  3. Research and apply for federal student loans.  These loans are great options.  The Stafford loan has a low rate and interest as well as payments are deferred until after graduation for the “subsidized” Stafford loan.
  4. Review private student loans and student loans from banks.  These loans offer some different options and may be at lower (variable) rates compared to the fixed plus loan rate.
  5. Dig deep into your savings – you’ll need it…

Good luck with funding the next year of school.  The costs continue to rise.

July 30, 2010

Can I transfer a Parent PLUS Loan?

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans, Student Loan News tagged , , at 2:10 PM by plusloans


Many parents, who take out the Parent PLUS Loan, believe they could always transfer the loan to the child, once he or she has graduated and secured a reasonable income. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The PLUS Loan is the responsibility solely of the parent, and is taken out in the parent’s name. He or she is the borrower, not the student.

One option, if finances become an issue for the parent, is to simply have the student reimburse the parent for the cost of the monthly payment, but continue to make the payments in the parent’s name.

If, as a parent, you would prefer a loan that allows you to eventually transfer the repayment obligation, consider a private student loan. These loans are in the student’s name, and depending on the lender, generally have a cosigner release option. After a certain number of consecutive on time payments, the parent (as a co-signer) can apply to be released from the loan, making it entirely the student’s obligation for repayment.

June 3, 2010

Repayment Options for the Parent PLUS loan

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans at 2:46 PM by plusloans


If you are a parent who has taken out a PLUS loan to cover some of your child’s education, you might be wondering what methods of repayment are available to you. While many parents opt for standard repayment, there are other options as well:

The Graduated Repayment Plan allows you to start out with lower monthly payments that gradually increase over time until the loan is paid in full. The required monthly payment is calculated based on your loan debt and interest rate.

The Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan bases your monthly payment on your yearly income and your loan amount. You are eligible for this plan only if you monthly loan payment is greater than ten percent of your annual gross income.

The Extended Repayment Plan provides eligible loan borrowers with payment relief through an expanded repayment term of up to 25 years.

Visit ParentPLUSLoan.com for more information on repayment, and don’t forget to consolidate if you have more than one federal loan.

May 6, 2010

Parent PLUS or a Private Student Loan? What should I pick?

Posted in Parent PLUS Loans, Private Loans tagged , at 1:38 PM by plusloans


If your child received their financial aid award letter and there weren’t enough digits on the page to cover tuition, you are definitely not alone. The cost of college continues to steadily grow every year, but financial aid has not kept the same pace. As a result, the gap between aid and cost continues to grow.

Once your child has exhausted the annual maximum for Stafford loans, the next step is to look at credit-based options to bridge the financial aid gap. Fortunately for you, there are quite a few lenders that all must compete with each other to make money and therefore give you an opportunity to minimize the interest rate on a new loan.

If you’ve read a few posts on this blog, you know the score on Parent PLUS loans, but what about private student loans? There are a few notable differences… and in some cases they can become more attractive than their federal counterpart.

Major Differences:

  • Private student loans have variable interest rates (meaning they change with the index they are associated with… most commonly LIBOR or the Prime)
  • They come from banks instead of the Department of Education
  • Many banks offer special incentives to make a private student loan more worthwhile

At the moment, interest rates are quite low due to the Fed attempting to put the economy back on a growth track out of the recession. This means that the indices are at historical lows and with a creditworthy borrower, you can secure a great interest rate that can be as much as 5% lower than a Parent PLUS loan.

If you want to learn more about some of the incentives that private lenders offer, check out this blog on the Student Loan Network.

The bottom line is just do some research before you take out a loan. In many cases, you can save thousands of dollars in interest if you shop around.

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