About Financial Aid Sense

Financial Aid Sense was created with the clear purpose of helping families navigate through the college financing process by sharing timely and accurate information about the Financial Aid Application Process, FAFSA, Scholarship Searches, Award Letter Comparison, College Financing Options, Money Saving Tips, and more!

Private Education Loan Repayment Options

Good afternoon everyone! So many folks seem stressed out this week as they shop for private education loan programs to help pay the college tuition bills that are due very soon. Many folks have contacted me to ask how to make that final decision as to which loan program to borrow through and how to go about repaying the loan. I thought that I would put some info out there with regard to Private Education Loan Programs and specifically what you need to be aware of when choosing repayment plan options.

Generally speaking, when applying for a Private Education Loan Program, the borrower will need to select which type of repayment option they would like. For example, many private education loan programs out there today will allow a borrow to begin paying back both the principal and interest right away OR to begin paying back interest-only OR to allow the loan to be fully deferred until the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Most education loan programs require the applicant to select which repayment option they would like right up front, thus it is important for the applicant to understand the differences between the three repayment options as well as the costs associated with each option. As noted above, most loan programs offer an immediate repayment option, an interest-only repayment option, or an option to fully defer repayment.

The least expensive way to borrow a loan is to begin paying back both principal and interest right away, this is the immediate repayment option. This is a least expensive way to borrow for a few reasons. The first is that the quicker you pay back the principal loan amount, the least amount of interest will accrue over time, making for a cheaper loan. In addition, most companies access a lower interest rate for those choosing the immediate repayment option.

Knowing though that most families may not be able to afford to begin paying a loan back immediately, there are also the options of paying interest only or fully deferring repayment of the loan until after the student graduates. Of those two options, borrowers choosing to pay interest only will typically have a lower interest rate on their loan than those fully deferring which allows for a cheaper loan. Of course, paying interest as you go along can only save you money in the end as well.

Chatting with one Mom the other day, she mentioned how much she spends on groceries each month for one of her sons. Based on that revelation, she figured her grocery bill would decrease when her son leaves for college, thus was thinking of using that money to pay the interest on the private education loan. It is her way of trying to keep loan borrowing costs down and could foresee being able to reallocate saved grocery monies to paying the interest on her son’s private education loan.

The moral of the story here is that there are many ways of managing loan repayment and it is important to be well informed about loan repayment options, how each option affects interest rates, and how each option determines overall repayment costs. I found a nifty chart put out by MEFA that shows the costs of a $10,000 Private Education Loan under each of their three repayment plan options. Very helpful chart that puts the numbers out there so that borrowers can make an informed decision. Check out the MEFA Monthly Payment Calculator chart for some very helpful information.

Lots of great info on private loan programs and options for paying for college in our newly updated Financial Aid Book entitled Financial Aid Sense. If you know folks with juniors and seniors in high school, this book is a vital read for those needing to finance a college education.

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Help Control Loan Debt – Find Scholarships

Just read an article on Huff Post Education about average loan debt of student loan borrowers. A link to the article is below at the bottom of this post for those interested. Essentially, the study cited in the article found that the average loan debt for borrowers under 30 was almost $21,000 per borrower, which is a hefty amount, especially for those in lower income fields starting out. One of the reasons for this high average debt, per this article, is that colleges are offering less scholarship money, forcing students to borrow more loans.

That prompts me to want to remind families of the value of looking for outside scholarships as a funding option. It is a tedious process looking for scholarships, however, your labors can prove very fruitful in securing additional funds for college. Just wanted to remind everyone of the information on outside scholarships that we have on our site. Finding scholarships takes time and students should begin their search process early on, thus those students entering their senior year of high school this fall can start the process now, it is not too early.

In addition, in Financial Aid Sense, there is a whole chapter devoted to the outside scholarship search which may prove helpful. In addition, our templates in the appendices of the book will help streamline the process and keep you organized while searching for scholarships. Check out the book as it is a tremendous financial aid resource for those entering their senior year of high school.

Below is the link to the article mentioned above: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/average-student-loan-debt_n_1680469.html?ir=Education

Best of luck in your scholarship search!

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

How to Limit Student Loan Borrowing

Seems like every day recently people are contacting me about financial aid options, student loans, tips on borrowing private education loans and more. Must be that time of year as tuition bills will be due soon at most colleges.

Hazel from onlineclasses.com shared an article that she published recently, entitled 8 Ways to Avoid Taking Out Student Loans”. Although there is a money saving tips section on this website with similar tips, I wanted to share this article as all of her points are valid and certainly useful. Even if you choose to only act on a few of the ideas noted in the article, you would find yourself saving some money. Check out the article for some good information and a nice reminder of ways to save money while in college.

Also, please tell everyone that you know who has a child in their junior or senior year this coming September that Financial Aid Sense is now available. It is vital to be informed about Financial Aid and College Financing processes. Financial Aid Sense is a practical guide about financial aid and the college financing process that everyone with a high school junior or senior can benefit from. The guide has much more detail than the website and serves as a financial aid workbook as well, replete with planning templates and helpful resources. An important read AND remember – 50% of proceeds go to support the National GRACE Foundation – a win win for everyone!!!!

Enjoy your day folks! Hope you enjoy the article!

Check out what folks are saying about Financial Aid Sense!

"Customer Reviews for Financial Aid Sense"


Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Fixed Rate vs Variable Rate Education Loans

Happy July! Hope you all had a festive July 4th holiday!

By now, most colleges and universities have mailed their tuition bills which in most cases  are due in early August! So many friends have contacted me recently asking for guidance with regard to private education loans, a necessary financing tool for many. Many friends are clearly overwhelmed by the task of comparing private education loans, thus I thought it would be helpful to post again about this topic and share some helpful links and tips from Financial Aid Sense.

Interest rates play a huge factor in the overall cost of private education loans (as well as any loan, really!) and one such factor to consider is whether your private education loan has a fixed or variable interest rate. A fixed rate is a rate that does not change over time; the interest rate paid for the loan will remain constant through the entire repayment period. A variable rate is very different as the rate will typically change each month, or in some cases each quarter. A variable rate will either be tied to the LIBOR index or to the Prime index and can change often and go as high as the interest rate cap for the loan. In most cases, interest rates are capped at a very high percent, often greater than 20%! Now that is not to say that the interest rate will ever go as high as the cap, however, the possibility does exist.

Many loan providers offer both fixed rate loan options and variable rate loan options and are based on credit. The better your credit, the better interest rate options you will have. The article on the American Saves website gives a nice overview of credit and the relationship to private education loans. In addition, our article on Private Loans and Credit also shares some good info on the relationship between credit and loans.

When shopping for private education loans, please be sure to compare loans very carefully. Fixed rate loans typically will have a higher interest rate since you are locking in your rate for the entire loan term. Many borrowers like this feature as it gives peace of mind against rising interest rates and allows the borrower to plan their repayment down to the penny. However, for that peace of mind comes a higher priced loan. Those that want the least expensive loan should consider a variable rate education loan, however, need to understand the risk involved with borrowing. If market changes force rates to creep us, the borrower needs to be prepared to repay a higher priced loan.

A Primer on Fixed Rate vs Variable Rate is available on the US News Site – I thought this article might be helpful. Carefully shop around for private loan before borrowing and be sure to ask many questions – See our article about paying for college with private loans and specifically the list of things to consider when borrowing a private loan as a guide – it could save you money!

Thanks for joining us on Financial Aid Sense. If you know of anyone who will be entering either their junior year or senior year in high school, Financial Aid Sense is a vital read!

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Private Education Loan Considerations

Believe it or not, it is late June and that means that college tuition bills will be mailed out very soon, most with a due date of August 1st! Although we hope that many of you have received scholarship monies to cover the cost of college, realistically many need to turn to federal student loans and private education loans to help cover the college tuition bill.

Before borrowing a private education loan program, please please please be sure to carefully compare loan terms from a number of different loan companies to be sure you are getting the best possible loan options available and best for your specific family situation.

There are some helpful resources that you can look at which will help guide you through the process of reviewing and borrowing an alternative education loan.

Check out the articles on Private Loans and Credit, Paying for College with Private Education Loans, Preferred Lender Lists, and Applying for Education Loans. The information will help guide you through the process.

"Financial Aid Book"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Student Loans and Marriage

Now that is an interesting combination! Student Loans and Marriage! People planning their weddings, for the most part, may not be thinking of student loans and how they are related to their upcoming marriage.

The folks over at bachelorsdegreeonline.com shared this article with me and it has some valuable information regarding student loan repayment and debt obligations of married couples. Certainly a worthwhile and informative read for anyone who will have student loan repayment obligations while married. Check out the article below:

10 Things You Should Know About Student Loans Before Getting Married

As always Financial Aid Sense is here as a timely and pertinent resource for financial aid and the college financing processes. Please spread the word about our newly published book Financial Aid $ense which is a great resource for students who will be juniors and seniors in the fall."Financial Aid Book"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Saving Money on College

With college move-in days coming up in August, many families are thinking about ways to save money on college expenses. I wanted to share a link to an article on Saving Money on College Costs. This article has practical information on saving money on expenses related to college, such as textbooks, incidentals, on-campus expenses and more. If families plan ahead, there are a number of way to save money on college expenses. Happy reading!

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Financial Aid Sense Supports National GRACE Foundation

National Cancer Survivors day was just celebrated on June 3rd across the country! Financial Aid Sense is supporting the National GRACE Foundation which is devoted to assisting pediatric cancer survivors with the college planning process, including admissions and financial aid planning services, all for FREE! Check out what this foundation is doing and how Financial Aid Sense offering support!

"Financial Aid Sense Supports National GRACE Foundation"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

The National GRACE Foundation – Helping Families with College Planning

The National GRACE Foundation is doing some really great things for families affected with pediatric cancer. Wrote a nice article about their mission and wanted to share that with you. Check out what the National GRACE Foundation is doing for pediatric cancer patients and their families by clicking this link.


Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author

Financial Aid Sense now on Kindle

Great news! Financial Aid Sense is now available as an E-Book for the Kindle. Kindle lovers can now benefit from reading Financial Aid Sense on their Kindle! All the same great financial aid and college financing resources are included in the Kindle version. Truly a vital read for anyone with college bound children. Especially useful for families with children going to college in the next few years!

Check out Financial Aid Sense for practical information on financial aid and the college financing process.

"Financial Aid Reference Book on Kindle"

Jan Marie Combs, EzineArticles Basic Author