What to know if you are starting to look for student loans

Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 7:01 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As a parent, you want to get the big picture of what college will cost as soon as possible. This means logging on to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA with your child.

It’s a must for families who will need help paying for college.

Cherry Dale a financial coach with the Virginia Credit Union says just the act of filling it out makes students eligible for grants and scholarships as well as federal student loans. She says the website is very helpful and can answer many of your questions.

“You are really going to need your tax documents as a parent. So that’s something that you want to gather before you even start the FAFSA process,” said Dale.

Dale says if you have an option to choose, it’s always smarter to with federal over private student loans. Federal student loans typically have a lower interest rate and more flexible repayment options.

Private loans often come with higher rates and require a co-signer which puts an additional person on the hook likely a parent.

If you want to help your child pay for college, Dale says you might consider a Parent PLUS loans.

One of the biggest differences between it and other student loans is it requires a credit check. But to be eligible, your child needs to complete the FAFSA.

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