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Student Loans Secrets

Before you know it, your children grow up and your wife decides to get her masters degree and you find yourself researching for college student loans.  Secrets I'd like to share with you, come from personal experience and will allow you to save time, expense, spot student loan scams and headaches. Following is how we found our college student loans and the steps we had to take. Please let us know if it helped you or not.

For us it all started one evening at our local high school. A guidance counselor from a nearby university held a seminar on how to get: grants, financial aid, scholarships, college student loans secrets, etc. It was this 2 hour window of opportunity that opened our eyes to the world of financing college and how to find the best student loan for our situation.

Your New Best Student Loan Friend

You will become extremely familiar with FAFSA. It basically stands for: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Before you can even apply for college student loans we had to submit a bunch of information (make sure you have your tax refund from last year with you) on their website. Fortunately for us, my wife filled out as much as possible and then visited the counselor who took her information and went online and did much of the work on submitting the student loans for her. It didn't take him long and then we had to wait.

Listen, January 1st of each year is extremely important for everyone who wants to apply to FAFSA.  This is the date they start accepting college student loans applications and it is a first come first served basis.  The longer you wait to apply the longer it takes for you to get your answers.

The government will send you a SAR (student aid report) and it will summarize the EFC (expected family contribution).  Basically the EFC is about how much your family can realistically or un-realistically afford to spend on their child's education costs.  Based on these figures that is how much you can borrow from the government.

How long will it take?

We had our answers back within a month, but we had friends who applied through FAFSA later than we did and it took them nearly 2 months to find out if they were eligible for student loans.

College Student Loans Secrets

  • Ask for as much as you need, however be ready to receive not nearly as much as you think.  
  • There is one section where they ask you if you want to apply for work study and a host of other things. Check yes on everything so you can keep your options open. Unfortunately our son couldn't get work study because as he said:  "you guys make to much money".  Funny thing is we are living on one salary which in this day and age is financial suicide.
  • FAFSA will tell you how much money you are eligible for from the federal government student loan system.
  • You can take all of what they offer, you can take partial amounts or you don't have to take anything.
  • Once you receive notification from FAFSA then you can visit various institutions to shop for your specific student loans.  
  • My wife received a partial government loan and she got hers from Great Lakes Student Loans. However, she needed more money so she had to go the private route and secured an additional loan from Discovery student loans.
  • Our son was eligible for a full federal student loan amount and he was able to get it through a local bank US Bank Corp.

Use These Student Loans Secrets When You Go Shopping for Loans

  • Shop hard for interest rates and try to get the lowest possible rate.
  • Find out what their policy for paying on the interest. For us, we have decided to pay the monthly interest payment for our son. However, the loan is in his name which allows him to be penalized if he defaults.
  • Cosigner:  I became the cosigner for my wife and WE became the cosigner for our son. You can get loans without a cosigner but it's all tied into the interest rate.
  • Are their penalties for paying the loan off early.
  • There are some huge tax advantages on these loans so make sure and discuss whether paying them off early is advantageous.

Make an appointment early in the year with your local junior college, high school or university. Alongside your child, these counselor's are more than willing to help you every step of the way. If you get lucky, they will fill out all the forms online while you are sitting in their office.  Make sure and ask them exactly what you need to bring to your meeting so you can possibly get it all completed in that one visit.

Good luck and we hope your experience in finding college students loans is positive. We hope these student loans secrets have helped you and if you are ready let's explore more information on the various types of student loans.

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