LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Edvisors, publisher of free sites of continually updated information and tools to help students and families plan for and pay for college, has issued borrowing strategies to help students as well as families avoid pitfalls and wisely finance their college education.
“The best strategy families can pursue in financing an education is to save for college in advance,” said Mark Kantrowitz, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Edvisors and author of Filing the FAFSA. “However, the reality is that savings are often not enough and families must borrow money; student loans have become the second largest source of consumer debt in this country. With this in mind, we are sharing insights and best practices with students and their families on how to best navigate the world of student debt.”
Edvisors has identified five common mistakes to avoid in borrowing to pay for college:
1. Failing to exhaust free money first. By the time loans are repaid in full with any interest, it typically costs students about two dollars for every dollar they borrow. Rely on free gift aid first, such as grants, scholarships and education tax benefits. Next, consider earned income, such as student employment, education awards for volunteer service, employer tuition assistance and military student aid. If you must borrow, consider a short-term tuition installment plan, instead of long-term debt.
2. Taking on too much debt. Families should only take on as much debt as they can afford to repay student loans in ten years or less. A good rule of thumb is to keep student loan debt at graduation less than the student’s expected annual starting salary – ideally, a lot less.
3. Borrowing private student loans instead of federal. Always borrow federal student loans first because the loans are less expensive, more available and have better repayment terms and conditions than private student loans.
4. Misunderstanding the difference between fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed interest rates remain unchanged for the life of the loan, while variable interest rates may change periodically. Even if the interest rate on a variable-rate loan is initially lower than the interest rate on a fixed-rate loan, the variable-rate loan may ultimately be more expensive if the interest rate increases significantly over the life of the loan.
5. Cosigning a loan without understanding the consequences. Cosigning a loan may help the borrower qualify for a loan and may reduce the interest rate. But, a cosigner is also a co-borrower, equally obligated to repay the debt. The cosigned loan will be reported on the credit history of both the borrower and cosigner. This may affect the cosigner’s ability to qualify for other debt, especially if the borrower is late with a payment or defaults on the loan.
Edvisors offers free access to additional information about borrowing the best loans for college, including how to choose the best loans: http://www.edvisors.com/loans/choosing-loans/best-loans/
Edvisors publishes free sites of continually updated information and tools to help students and families plan for and pay for college. Every year, millions of students and their families turn to the company’s flagship site, Edvisors.com, for timely, accurate information and tools that help them confidently make the best decisions about paying for college. At the Edvisors ScholarshipPoints.com site, students earn points and enter scholarship drawings; the site has awarded more than $650,000 to date, while StudentScholarshipSearch.com is the largest free online database of scholarships with an easy-to-use scholarship matching tool. Founded in 1998, Edvisors is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. More information can be found at www.edvisors.com.