College financial aid tips
by Grace Pierce
As tuition costs climb – one year at some institutions would suffice for a down payment on a house – higher education represents a more significant life investment. As such, it is imperative for the college-bound to map out a multi-year financial plan that takes into account immediate cash needs and long-term loan commitments. Fortunately, there are numerous online resources that can be used to help secure financing to get you or your loved one through school.
Saving early is often the best approach, and savvy parents can establish 529 college savings accounts for children at birth. Bank of America has a suite of products to meet long-term college savings goals, including options for non-parents such as grandparents or guardians.
If you are a student headed to college in the near future, you are going to need some more immediate financing options. Wells Fargo, among others, offers numerous flexible private student loan options for undergraduate and graduate students. In some cases, no cosigners are required, and no payments are due while you are still in school. If you are a graduate already juggling multiple loan payments, Wells Fargo can help you consolidate and reduce monthly payments.
If you do find yourself going the private loan route, you are going to want to make sure that you get the very best interest rates. Simple Tuition lets you easily stack up private loan options against one another, and suggests additional options for you to explore. The service also has resources to help you find textbooks on the cheap, and manage your student debt.
Private loans are by no means the only option. In fact, there are innumerable grants and scholarships available, not to mention state and federal loans. Digging through the ones that might apply to you can be overwhelming, but a great place to start is Education Connection. The site includes an easily-digestible chart of grants and loans available to students and their parents.
No matter how much you plan, a college student will one day find his or her wallet feeling a little light. For in-the-pinch moments there is Xoom, which allows for quick and easy money transfers online. Is your kid studying abroad? No problem, this service is international.