There is no right or wrong way when it comes to financing your education, and each family’s situation is unique. Look over the options below and keep in mind that you may use any combination of these options. When considering loans to finance your education, Franklin & Marshall recommends exhausting all federal loan options before considering a private student loan.
Payment Plans and Loans
Transact Campus Monthly Payment Plan
F&M has partnered with Transact Campus to create payment plans that allow you to pay your tuition bill over several months each semester instead of providing full tuition payment at one time. To enroll in the payment plan, you must be an authorized user of the student's account. For additional information, contact Student Accounts at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-358-4213.
Federal Direct Loan for Students
All students regardless of need are eligible to borrow the Federal Direct Loan. F&M recommends maximizing your federal loans before you consider other loan options. Federal Direct loans offer a low variable/fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms, as well as defined terms of deferment and forbearance.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Parents
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan is a federal loan program for parents borrowing to finance their dependent undergraduate student’s education. PLUS loan offers a low variable/fixed interest rate and offers a delayed repayment option. A parent can borrow up to the total cost of education minus financial aid/loans. A credit check is required each year but you only need to sign one master promissory note.
Private Student Loans
Private Student Loans, also known as Alternative loans, should be your last consideration for financing your education. Almost all private loan lenders now offer you the choice of fixed or variable interest rates, as well as a variety of repayment plans. Recently, private loans have become more difficult to obtain, and in most cases students will require a creditworthy cosigner. Be sure that you and your cosigner fully understand the terms and conditions of the loan before signing the promissory note and accepting the loan offer. For a list of private student or parent loans, Elm Select will provide you with a list of lenders most often used by F&M families. Once you are on their website, select "Undergraduate" or "Parent Loans" in the drop down box for the loan type.
There are plenty of websites and plenty of information out there regarding federal student loan consolidation. If you are a recent college graduate and facing the decision of whether or not to consolidate your federal student loans, listed below are a few link resources to help you understand your options and the issues at hand.
While we cannot advise students about loan consolidation, we do suggest that loan consolidation has advantages and disadvantages specific to each student's specific circumstance. Your ability to manage debt load, the amount of your debt load, and your likelihood for future income are a few factors to consider as you research the following student loan consolidation sources.
Scholarship Search Engines
External scholarships are an effective way to help finance your college education. Here are 6 sites for you to begin your search:
There is no shortage of con artists and scams when it comes to paying for college, and spotting them early can save you money and heartbreak. Any one of these signs should be a red flag that you may be dealing with a scholarship scam:
- Asking for money. Reputable scholarships are free to apply for and free to receive. Scams typically charge for the application, or use deceptive language such as "reserve your scholarship with your credit card number". Reputable scholarships never need to charge money!
- Asking for lots of nonrelevant personal information. Scams that pay off for criminals using identity theft ask for lots of personal information typically not relevant to a scholarship application such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other financially-related information.
- Claims of exclusivity. A fair number of scams make the claim that their information cannot be found anywhere else, and therefore you should pay for their services. In the age of Google, information exclusivity is a thing of the past. Don't pay.
- Claims of guarantees. The truth of scholarship hunting is that there are no guarantees. No one can guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship, and any company advertising a paid service making such a claim is likely a scam.
- Receiving letters of potential awards you never applied for. Scholarships are in such demand that no awarding agency needs to make unsolicited awards to recipients. This includes, by the way, email notifications of any kind about scholarships that you never applied for.
- "Free" seminars with an upsell. The latest trick that some companies and individuals are using is the free financial aid seminar offer. These seminars typically promise great financial aid information, but end with a hard sales pitch to attend a future paid seminar, buy books, DVDs, or other materials (usually at high prices). There are plenty of free financial aid seminars offered by high schools and colleges that are worth attending instead. Check with your guidance office or financial aid office for details on those.