College Students

Are my student loans eligible for public service loan forgiveness?

 
Are my student loans eligible for public service loan forgiveness?If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The PSLF, which began in 2007, forgives the remaining balance on federal Direct Loans after you have made 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
 

Qualifying employers for PSLF include: government organizations (e.g., federal, state, local), not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501C(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and other types of not-for-profit organizations that are not tax-exempt if their primary purpose is to provide certain types of qualifying public services. Continue reading

Should I consider requesting a deferment or forbearance for my federal student loans?

 
Should I consider requesting a deferment or forbearance for my federal student loans?Did you take on a large amount of debt to pay for college, and are you struggling to pay it off? If so, you are not alone. According to the Federal Reserve, 20% of individuals with outstanding student loans were behind on their payments in 2017.1 You may want to consider requesting a deferment or forbearance if you are having difficulty keeping up with your federal student loan payments.
 

Provided certain eligibility requirements are met, both a deferment and a forbearance allow you to temporarily stop making payments or temporarily reduce your monthly payment amount for a specified time period. The key difference between the two is that with a deferment, you may not have to pay back any interest that accrues on the loan during the deferment period, depending on the type of loan you have. During a forbearance, you are responsible for paying any accrued interest on the loan, regardless of the type of loan you have. Continue reading

What’s so great about a college net price calculator?

 

What's so great about a college net price calculator?If you’re saving for a child’s college education, at some point you’ll want to familiarize yourself with a college net price calculator, which is an invaluable tool for estimating financial aid and measuring a college’s affordability. Available on every college website, a net price calculator gives families an estimate of how much grant aid a student might expect at a particular college based on his or her personal financial and academic profile and the college’s specific criteria for awarding grant aid. A college’s sticker price minus grant aid equals a family’s “net” price, hence the name.
 
 
The idea behind a net price calculator is to give families who are researching colleges a more accurate picture of what their out-of-pocket costs are likely to be, rather than having them rely on a college’s published sticker price. The figures quoted by a net price calculator aren’t guarantees of grant aid, but the estimates are meant to be close, so running the numbers is an excellent way for parents to see what their net price might be at different colleges.
 
 
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When should I submit college financial aid forms?

 

When should I submit college financial aid forms?For the 2019-2020 school year, the federal government’s financial aid form, the FAFSA, can be filed as early as October 1, 2018. It relies on current asset information and two-year-old income information from your 2017 tax return, which means you’ll have the income data you need when you sit down to complete the form. This is a relatively new process. A few years ago, parents had to wait until after January 1 to file the FAFSA and use tax data for the year that had just ended, which forced them to scramble to complete their tax return in order to complete the FAFSA.
 
 
If you have a new or returning college student, it’s a good idea to file the FAFSA as early as possible in the fall because some aid programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for filing the FAFSA is typically March or April and will vary by college. But don’t wait until then. It’s a good idea to submit any college aid forms as early as possible, too.
 
 
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How can families trim college costs?

 
How can families trim college costs?Trimming college costs up front can help families avoid excessive college borrowing and the burdensome student loan payments that come with it. Here are some ideas.

 
1. Pick a college with a lower net price. You can use a college’s net price calculator (available on every college’s website) to estimate what your net price (out-of-pocket cost) will be at individual colleges. A net price calculator does this by estimating how much grant aid a student is likely to receive based on a family’s financial and personal information. Colleges differ on their aid generosity, so after entering identical information in different calculators, you may find that College A’s net price is $35,000 per year while College B’s net price is $22,000. By establishing an ideal net price range, your child can target schools that hit your affordable zone.

 
2. Investigate in-state universities. Research in-state options and encourage your child to apply to at least one in-state school. In-state schools generally offer the lowest sticker price (though not necessarily the lowest netprice) and may offer scholarships to state residents.
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