Student Loans. Demystified.

December 6th, 2014


As thousands of students around the world make their way back to college, many of them are experience first-hand the notion of being in debt.  According to the chart from Sallie Mae, a leading student loan lender, Student Borrowing accounted for 18% of financing for college.  In addition, another takeaway is that Student Income and Savings accounted for 12%.  This means that on average, students footed 30% of their college bill.

Source: Sallie Mae

Student loans can be a way to pay for higher education.  In other words, students are making an investment in their future.  However, the loan documents can be confusing and choosing the right loan is difficult.  This page is designed to help students and parents understand the basics of student loans and provide additional resources.

To get a student loan, you will need to start off by first filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  It is imperative that you fill this out because the Federal Government provides grants and scholarships to those who qualify.  To fill out the FAFSA you will need a copy of your last year’s income tax return.  Here is a list of Federal Grants that you can apply for.

Grants and scholarships are essentially gifts to you to pay for your education and you do not have to pay them back.  Yet grants and scholarships do not always pay for the entire cost of attending college.  So that you’re prepared, I want to introduce you to the most common student loans.  They include:

  1. Perkins Loans

These loans are available to all students: part-time, full-time, graduate, and undergraduate.  Highlights of a Perkins loan include: low interest rate, deferred payments, and no prepayment penalty.  Depending on your status, undergraduates can get up to $20,000 over their undergraduate years while graduate students can get up to $40,000 of over their graduate years.

2. Stafford Loans

Like the Perkins Loans, these loans are available to all students.  Highlights of this loan include: flexible repayment options, fixed interest rate (6.8%), and the interest can be subsidized if you demonstrate need.   The loan limit ranges from $2000-$20000.

3. PLUS Loan

Lastly, the most popular form of a loan is the PLUS Loan.  These are unique because students can get large amounts depending on the cost of attendance.  Careful! This type of loan can only be taken out by parents, so they will need to pass a credit check.  Unlike the other loans, interest is higher at 8.5% and is not subsidized.  Also, repayment begins 60 days after the loan is made.

As you may have noticed, loans come in a variety of forms and can be a way to finance the cost of college.  The best way to get more information about college funding is to meet with a financial aid advisor at your college. They will be able to provide you information about scholarships available your college and other types of financing.  If you’re still seeking more information about federal funding, please visit these two sites:

  1. The Department of Education’s loan page (where you can view the Student Guide)
  2. The Federal Student Aid Direct Loans site






Should I Go to College?

November 8th, 2012

Before one can even think about how to pay for college or what classes to take, a person would need to decide if they even should pursue college at all. With tuition costs rising, some people wonder if it is really worth the money and time to go to college. To top it off, there are some who finish college and end up doing something totally different then their intended major. Therefore there are quite a few that have decided to skip college completely and face the “real world” straight on. Are these people at a less advantage than those that go to a four year university?  Is there other alternatives to a four year university that can give the same results? If one decides to go to a four year college, what can they do to make sure they don’t waste time or money?

To answer the first question, maybe not. There are some people have been successful without graduating from a college. Some learned on location, others may have started their own business. Whatever the case is, just because you graduate from a four year college doesn’t mean that you automatically get a job. But certain jobs do require that a person have some sort of degree. It just depends on what you would like to do or what job you would like to obtain.

Is there other alternatives to a four year university that can give the same results? Maybe not the same results, but some different results. Do you know another language? Some have been able to become translators. Do you have some sort of talent or skill? Some people are artistic, music oriented, or talented in sports which helped them obtain their desired career. There are also many online colleges or vocational schools that one can attend that will deal directly with what they would want to do. Also it is common that there is a nearby community college that can offer good education at a more affordable price.

Still want to go to a traditional College? Well there still are ways to make sure that you don’t drown  in debt before you can start in the work force. Have a goal, be organized, and stay motivated. Don’t invest in an education that you don’t want. Not having a goal in mind is like driving to an unknown destination, you waste time and money that could be used to actually get somewhere.

So in the end, the choice of whether or not to go to college is left up to you. Keep in mind that a college degree alone doesn’t pay the rent, but dedication and determination will. If you decide to go to a traditional college, make use of your education! The harder you work, the better the results.

Do you have any questions about college that you would like answered? Would you like a whole article dedicated to one or more of the questions above? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.


Posted By: Kiana Valdez

Social Media Marketing Intern at