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Students and parents need to be aware of college costs


Monday, June 02, 2014

Many students will require financial support to get them through college, whether it be to help with tuition costs or pocket money to pay day to day expenses. To cover these costs students and their families will likely turn to various loans, both federal and private. But before signing any loan agreement, borrowers need to be fully up-to-date on what to expect with regard to college financial aid and student loans.

According to a study from the Credit Union National Association, more than half of parents of college-aged students are unaware of the details of paying for college. The survey, which polled over 700 parents of 17- and 18-year-olds, found that many of these adults are in the dark about average interest rates, loan terms and other important financial facts.

Specifically, 59 percent of parents did not know what to expect from interest rates, while another 53 percent were unsure about the length of most loans. Almost half were uncertain about how many loans their children would need to graduate from college.

While parents of college-aged students may be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of student loans, there are ways to brush up on all facets of the student financial aid process. The first place to go is the U.S. Depart of Education's Web site, Federal Student Aid. In addition parents and students should talk with financial aid staff of prospective colleges, research scholarships and attend any financial aid workshops offered by the high school or local community or not-for-profit organizations. Getting familiar with student loan facts can save money and prevent surprises down the line.

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