If you're in the process of packing up your son or daughter for college and worried about how you're going to pay for it, here's good news: There are still sources of funding available (USA Today
The online resource Home & Family Finance
lists the following options for financial assistance:
- Federal student aid. This should be the first place you look for loans. To apply for a federal student loan for the 2009-2010 school year, you must submit a federal application for financial aid (FAFSA) by June 30, 2010 at midnight. (Note: the deadlines for your state or college may be different from the federal deadline--check fafsa.ed.gov/before003a.htm for details.) You can receive grants that do not have to be repaid, work-study, or Stafford loans--either subsidized or unsubsidized, or both. You can find the FAFSA form, as well as more information, at fafsa.ed.gov.
- PLUS loans. Parent PLUS loans are federally guaranteed loans carrying a fixed rate. Securing a PLUS loan does not require a high credit score; however, a foreclosure, bankruptcy, or debt more than 90 days overdue could disqualify you.
- Private loans. Although many lenders have tightened their standards, private loans are still available for students--after you've exhausted all other sources of aid.
Although most financial aid packages are awarded in the spring, if you have suffered any financial setbacks--such as a job lay-off--you may be able to appeal to the university's financial aid office. Most colleges can take the current year's income and assets into consideration.
Your university's financial aid office also may let you set up an extended-payment plan. With this option, you can pay your tuition bill in monthly installments, instead of one large payment. To set up a plan, you may have to pay a fee of $50 to $100.
For more information on college planning and financing options, visit the college section of www.icansucceed.org
For the full Home & Family Finance
article, click here.