St. Charles Herald-Guide

MONEYTALK with Al Suffrin

Al Suffrin - January 31, 2007

Dear Mr. Suffrin: My daughter will graduate high school in May and wants to take out student loans to pay for her entire college education.

She wants to major in English, but doesn't want to be teacher. I am concerned that in the long run, when she completes her college education, she will not be able to find a job that will give her the financial stability needed to repay these loans.

Her father and I can't afford to pay for college and think that because she is undecided on a career path she should just enter the work force.

Are student loans always a good deal for a college education? - Undecided in Ama

Dear Undecided: Student loans are a good deal, provided your daughter is aware of the future financial costs.

Student loans will cost your daughter interest payments in addition to the borrowed principal. The interest cost will vary from 4 to 6 percent annually.

If your daughter will not be financially sound to pay these costs, then she should look at working and paying her way through school.

Another option would be to not claim her as a dependent on your 2006 Individual Income Tax Return.

Have her apply for a Pell Grant. With a Pell Grant, she would not have to pay it back.

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: or write: MONEYTALK, P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA