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College Talk Blog

Money and College

Discussing College Price Tags is Kryptonite for Some Families

I still say that selecting a college is a whole lot like shopping for a car. In the beginning, there are shiny cars beckoning to us from showrooms. However, when we come down to earth and compare mileage, maintenance and options along with price tag, we agree on a model that meets our needs as opposed to models that are popular.

Car buyers and college buyers should really look at price tags early in the decision process. When college buyers don't do that, they take the risk that they will mislead their teen and have them fall in love with the shiniest and most expensive college rather than the one that fits them best.

Student Loan Sharks

Today I heard a radio ad that was frightening. The advertisement was from a group that represented itself as "loan counselors" for student loans. The ad sounded like the "loan Counselors" were non-profit or even part of the government. Later in the ad, the "loan counselors" sounded more like loan salespersons. 

My take-a-way from this ad was that this was a for-profit group planning to profit from the concerns of student loan borrowers. Students who are having difficulty making payments on student loans should first work with the government to look at ways to lower payments.

Is it too late for scholarships for fall 2016 freshmen?

One thing that has become clear to me is that many families don't have an accurate understanding of scholarship timelines. The biggest scholarships, outside of what students receive directly from colleges, often have deadlines that occur in the fall of the senior year of high school. Other popular deadlines are January-March of second semester of the senior year.

Families often fail to think about scholarships until late in the second semester of senior year of high school. Prior to that time their focus is on where the student will get accepted.

Student Loan Refi

No matter what the ads say, lenders lend money to make money. Lenders offering opportunities for students to leave their federal loan and enter into a new private loan arrangement should read contracts carefully.

In fact, this is such a huge decision, grads should consult an expert. Among the people student loan borrowers can consult are financial planners, student loan attorneys and financial aid officers at their alma mater.

Some lenders are offering enticing interest rates now. Refinancing may be a good idea for those with loans disbursed when interest rates were higher.

Student Debt Consumer Issues

Student financial aid officers are the hardest working people I know. They navigate unimaginable red tape to serve students everyday in a higher education system with prices rising faster than the Consumer Price Index. They are an island on campus surrounded by administrators often clueless to their regulatory constraints and workload, parents sure that pressure will make financial aid officers bend federal regulations for them, students who miss deadlines and now....demonstrators from the Student Debt Collective.