How do I help my child prepare academically and/or financially for college?
Free information is readily available from your student’s high school counselors and from the financial aid office of the college or career school your student plans to attend. The U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov) is also an excellent recourse on how to choose a school, search for colleges, and excel at admissions testing. Annually, the Department of Education releases a “Financial Aid Resource” publication for students which can be downloaded here.
There are many federal, state, and private educational savings programs. Educational IRA's, prepaid tuition plans, savings bonds, and trust plans are just a few of the many ways to prepare for your child's educational expenses. A few web sites you might find helpful:
- CollegeSavings.gov provides information on recently passed legislation for the 529 savings plan which is now available in all 50 states.
- FinAid.org provides information on applying for student loans and scholarships as well as starting educational saving plans.
- IRS.gov provides information on tax incentives for while you or your student is pursuing higher education.
Where can I apply for financial aid?
In order for any student to receive federal financial aid, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed.
What happens if I default on my federal student loan?
It is extremely important not to default on any loan. Defaulting will impact your credit score, and eventually your wages may be garnished as a result of defaulting on a student loan.
However, if you feel you may have to default, or if you are already in default, you should contact your lending company for counseling. For more information on addressing a default student loan, visit the FSA website here.
What is loan consolidation and am I eligible for one?
Consolidation loans allow you to combine different types of federal student loans to simplify repayment. Even if you have just one loan, you can also choose to consolidate it. Both the Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Direct Loan Programs offer consolidation loans. To apply for loan consolidation, visit the loan consolidation center on ed.gov.
After college, the federal government offers way to help repay your loans.
The Student Aid section of ed.gov is an excellent resource on repaying loans. Also, some loans are capable of being cancelled or repaid with public service, such as:
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