MONEYTALK with St. Charles Parish’s Al Suffrin
I need a loan for college - where do I go to get the best deal?
I'll need $17,000 a year for four years to pay for the basics like books and tuition and my dorm and a meal plan, and I'll be working part time to pay additional expenses.
So far, I've heard from 16 banks and lending institutions who want me to sign for a loan and they all seem to have pros and cons.
How can I know which deals are good and which deals are bad.
Any advice you can give me will be appreciated. - Looking for Cash in Paradis.
Dear Looking: Consult with your high school counselor or your university's financial aid office. Schedule an appointment with someone in one of those departments, and he/she should help you find the money you need. Be sure to file a free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will enable you to receive any federal loans or grants which you may be eligible for.
Look for free money:
•Scholarships and fellowships.
•Federal Pell Grant. Awarded to students with family incomes below $50,000.
•Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant. Available to students with exceptional financial need.
•Academic Competitiveness Grant. Available to all first-year college students.
If you have to borrow money:
•Perkins loan. Interest rate is fixed at 5%.
•Stafford loan. Interest rate is fixed at 6.8% if disbursed after 7/01/06.
•Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Allows a student's parents to borrow at a fixed rate of 8.5%.
If you must borrow money from bank:
Compare the fees charged by the lenders. A loan with a relatively low interest rate but high fees can ultimately cost more than a loan with a somewhat higher interest rate and no fees. A good rule of thumb is that 3% in fees is about the same as a 1% higher interest rate.
Generally, the best private student loans will have interest rates of London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) + 2.8% or Prime + 0% with no fees.
Read the detail to see if the lender charges a different interest rate for the in-school and grace period compared to a higher rate when the loan enters repayment.
Determine if automatic bank drafts can be used for faster payment.
To compare different loan programs, see FinAid's Loan Analyzer Calculator at: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loananalyzer.phtml
Students' questions about finances answered - only in the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Financial expert and school board member-elect Al Suffrin, a certified public accountant, takes on the tough questions from parish kids- and their parents - in an important weekly column everyone should read. Send YOUR questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write: MONEYTALK, P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
When Hahnville wrestler Kendrick Jones won the LHSAA Division I state championship...
A Killona man faces felony animal cruelty charges after the St. Charles Parish...
Local union workers at Shell and Motiva refineries in Norco went on strike after...
Rather than rely on “hopes and prayers” to find funding for the West Bank hurricane...
Beginning April 1, St. Charles Parish Hospital will ban smoking throughout the...
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Boutte woman with...
Fast Friendly Service...Just Around the Corner! Frank's offers you the best choice in quality groceries at competitive prices.
Rescuers save drowning driver in Killona - 3415 views
Emily Charles, 21, had begun to drive herself and five longtime friends from a Luling hotel to Southern California on Feb. 18 when she rear-ended a vehicle and lost control of her SUV at the intersection of Louisiana highways 3127 and 3142 near Dow Chemical Co. in Killona. Charles hit the brakes, but could not avoid clipping the back of the car.
“After that, I don’t even know what happened. We must have flipped,” Charles said.