(BPT) – You want your children to dream big, and for them, that likely means setting sail for college. However, before they embark on their journey, you’ll first need to figure out how you’re going to pay for school. For some, that includes navigating student loans.
Destination coordinates: College
Parents overwhelmingly believed in the importance of a college degree for their child’s future, according to a recent survey from College Ave Student Loans.
However, they also agreed that college costs were stressful and surprisingly high. Many felt that college tuition/fees and room/board were significantly more than expected. College costs can take families by surprise, so it’s important to explore all options on how to fund a degree.
A sea of financial options
When it comes to paying for college, families typically use a mix of methods to cover costs. Among those parents helping to pay for college, more than 60% were using regular income and savings and/or grants and scholarships. Federal student loans, the student’s job and private student loans rounded out the top five resources.
When making a plan to pay, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This can be completed online and will determine your eligibility for financial assistance like grants, some merit aid, work-study benefits and federal student loans.
If you find that after scholarships, grants, income and savings that there is still a financial gap to cover, borrowing student loans is one option to explore.
Bridging the gap and setting sail
One of the fastest ways to immediately cover the college financing gap is through student loans. Make sure to borrow federal student loans in the student’s name first as these come with unique benefits, such as income-based repayment plans, not typically offered by private student loans. However, there is an annual maximum amount you can borrow in federal student loans, and that’s when families start to explore private loan options.
Shop around for the best private student loan lender, as each offers different rates and repayment terms. To help you get an idea of how student loan repayment will impact your family’s budget, explore an online Student Loan Calculator to better understand the total cost of the loan and to estimate monthly payments.
One customer-friendly student loan provider to explore is College Ave. They offer competitive rates and a variety of loan repayment terms that can fit a family’s budget. Plus, the application process takes less than three minutes.
Although many scholarship deadlines have passed, there could still be options to supplement college costs. Consider looking for smaller or local options that may have flexible deadlines or lesser competition. Keep in mind, the College Ave $1,000 scholarship sweepstakes is continuous, so you can enter every month.
Determining how to pay for college can feel like setting sail into a storm. However, some exploration and a solid plan can lead to calm waters and a bright future for you and your child.