NEWTON, Mass., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Many families max out savings, grants and scholarships to pay for college, but still come up short. This leaves many families at a loss to determine the most effective way to pay for higher education. SimpleTuition, Inc. (www.simpletuition.com), a company dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing choices, has a few tips to offer the cost-conscious college student and family. "Few students appreciate the cumulative amount of debt they are taking on," said Kevin Walker, CEO, SimpleTuition, Inc. "By carefully selecting the right options for financing - and monitoring their costs semester over semester and year over year, students will be better prepared for student loan repayment after graduation." SimpleTuition recommends students first look into federal student loans. Both subsidized and unsubsidized loans are backed by the Federal government and currently have a fixed interest rate of 6.8% -- generally a lower rate than what you'd find with private loans. Once federal loans have been exhausted - and to the extent that the family needs to borrow more - parents can consider the fixed-rate federal PLUS loan and students, together with a co-signer, can look into private loans to help pay the difference. Dozens of lenders offer private student loan products, each with its own set of interest rates, repayment terms, credit constraints, co-signer requirements and fine print. Because of this wide range of products, it's important for borrowers to research and compare options very carefully before applying. "Selecting a private loan should be your last choice and should represent the smallest percentage of your total financial aid portfolio, if at all possible," said Walker. "Remember that almost all private student loans have tiered pricing, based on the borrower's and co-signer's credit profiles. This means that lower interest rates and lower fees are available to those with stronger credit. Higher rates and fees are possible for those with weaker credit." SimpleTuition recommends: -- Avoid turning to credit cards to pay for college. Many credit cards come with high interest rates. -- Put together a budget and do your best to follow it. By maintaining minimal expenses and managing current expenses now, students can lessen their borrowing needs and save money for when loans come due. -- A part-time job and/or federal work study can help more than you might expect. Even if a job generates only a couple thousand dollars per school year - that amount can have a significant financial impact over many years, if student borrowing is reduced by a commensurate amount. -- Review education-related expenses, including student loan interest, when preparing your taxes. There are a handful of meaningful tax credits and deductions that may be available to your family as an incentive to pursue a degree. -- Try to imagine your future situation (income and expenses) before taking out any student loan debt. Industry experts advise that student loan payments should not exceed 8 to 10% of gross monthly income. -- Be aware of your debt - even though you won't begin repayment for years. Students should have a good understanding of what will be owed post graduation. The more you are aware of the obligation you are accruing, the more likely you are to be responsible about taking on more debt. For more information, visit http://www.SimpleTuition.com.
SOURCE SimpleTuition, Inc.