Also new this season are slightly higher origination fees on the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. For students, the fee rose from 1 percent of the principal to 1.05 percent for Subsidized or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. Parents and graduate students taking out a Direct PLUS Loan will now pay 4.20 percent instead of 4 percent.To help families pay the expenses the aid package won’t cover, here are some practical funding options:
- Continue to apply for scholarships. Using Sallie Mae’s free online Scholarship Search, students and parents can quickly identify scholarships still available for the upcoming school year, including many with deadlines between now and the end of summer. The scholarship search is available at www.SallieMae.com/scholarships.
- Call the financial aid office to discuss special circumstances. Colleges may be able to adjust their award packages if a family’s financial situation has changed significantly.
- Consider a private education loan to supplement financial aid. A private education loan may be right for those who still have a gap after exploring federal financial aid or who want to investigate whether they qualify for a lower interest rate based on good credit. Students should consider interest rates, fees, repayment terms and borrower benefits of various loan products. With Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan, students can graduate with less student loan debt by opting to make payments while in school. To learn more, visit www.SallieMae.com/ChooseSmart.
- Earn extra money for college through Upromise by Sallie Mae. Upromise members can earn cash back when they make eligible purchases while shopping at Upromise with hundreds of participating companies or when they use their Upromise credit card.
- Budget with a payment plan. Besides financing an education with grants and loans, families can pay as they go by enrolling in a payment plan. Available at hundreds of college campuses, Sallie Mae administers tuition payment plans that let families spread tuition payments over a number of months instead of making a large lump-sum payment. Visit www.SallieMae.com/tuitionpay for more information.