December 06, 2001
By: Bev Dodd
Direct loan: apply early, avoid disappointments
Take advantage of early tuition discounts when you get your direct loan early. Make sure you are aware of all your costs and needs when you apply for a direct loan. We'll discuss this more below.
The first thing you should do before applying for a direct loan is work out your financial need. Financial need equals the difference between the costs of attending the campus, less the resources available to the student. Stated costs include tuition and fees, books, supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation and related expenses of the students' dependents, if any. When possible, applicants are expected to provide a reasonable monthly payment from savings or earnings toward meeting the cost of their education.
Take advantage of tuition prepayment discounts after you get your direct loan. Some colleges offer up to a 10% discount for early payment. Apply for aid as soon as possible after January 1st. Submit a FAFSA, even if you don't think you qualify for aid. Being rejected for federal aid is sometimes a prerequisite for private awards. Learn all you can about the college financial aid process. Be sure to meet your aid administrator and establish a relationship.
You could incorporate your direct loan into a consolidation loan. Loan consolidation is another way for borrowers to handle large educational debts or combine multiple loans with multiple lenders to a single lender. A loan consolidation is a new loan that actually pays off the borrower's qualifying outstanding student loans, leaving the borrower with one loan and payment. Consolidation also offers an extended repayment period that can range from 10 to 30 years depending on the total amount of the educational loans.
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