Students Should Compose Strategic College Funding Plan

Getting your financial house in order means different things to students and their parents, depending on what year a student is in college. Regardless, springtime presents the perfect opportunity to review the past year’s financial strategy and plan for the future, whether you are a freshman or a graduating senior.

Returning students may take this time to access the actual costs of school as compared to what they originally projected and re-calculate their budget for the upcoming school year. This way they are in a better position to more accurately estimate the following year’s expenses and the funding options to make their next year optimal. Graduates are in an entirely different category, preparing to leave behind their academic successes and move forward into the everyday work world.

NextStudent Provides Tools

Wherever students are in their academic career, NextStudent, the Phoenix-based premier education funding company, has all the tools necessary to help them get their college student loan debt and finances in order. Since needs vary, NextStudent, a Federal Family Education Loan Program provider, funds Stafford student loans, PLUS loans, Student Loan Consolidation and Private student loans.

When working with NextStudent, borrowers are assigned their own personal Education Finance Advisor, who will walk them through the college funding process from start to finish. This personalized attention and outstanding customer service is just one component of the excellence that can be expected when working with a company of NextStudent’s character and caliber.

Strategy Begins with Scholarship Search

A good place to start once a continuing student has updated the cost estimates for attending college for the prior year is to review the FREE money options or scholarships that are available. NextStudent has an impressive free online Scholarship Search Engine and comprehensive database that allows students to apply for 2.4 million scholarships valued at over $3.4 billion from more than 42,000 college funding sources.

Currently, in its efforts to promote the search for “Free Money” for college students through its Scholarship Search Engine, NextStudent is having a “Rock My Grad Party” contest for local Phoenix high schools and students. A total of $5,000 goes to the winning school toward funding its 2007 Senior Class Party, and one lucky student will be awarded a laptop computer that can be used at college next year! All school administrators, including teachers and counselors as well as students, will be able to take advantage of the many scholarship opportunities available through NextStudent’s Scholarship Search Engine tools. For more information on the “Rock My Grad Party” promotion and how you can get involved, e-mail Amy Bookbinder at abookbinder@nextstudent.com.

All Qualify for Stafford Student Loans

Once a student has exhausted the “Free Money” resources, it is time to start putting together funding options for school, starting with Federal Stafford Student Loans. NextStudent offers both need-based subsidized Stafford Student Loans as well as unsubsidized Stafford Student loans. Since the government mandates that the student loan rates do not exceed 8.25 percent, this funding option is an inexpensive one for a student’s student loan portfolio. Rates currently are at 6.8 percent, and students qualify regardless of need.

When students choose to fund a Stafford Student loan through NextStudent, they are making a wise, financially sound decision since there are many money-saving benefits. Students literally can save thousands of dollars with such benefits as: zero origination fees, a 3 percent cash rebate on the remaining principal balance after making 30 consecutive on-time payments using auto-debit, and an interest rate reduction of .375 percent when borrowers use auto-debit for repayment.

PLUS Loans’ Crucial Component

A smart and easy way for parents and graduate students to fund college is to look to Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students and Graduate PLUS loans. Most people qualify for these student loans since the student loans are not based on income or need. These funds may be used to cover 100 percent of such college costs as tuition and a new computer, books and other necessities, less any financial aid received. NextStudent PLUS and Graduate PLUS Loans include generous terms and savings incentives.

Private Student Loans Fill Critical Gap

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Once all federal financial aid is maximized, which can come a lot quicker than most people think, it is time to check out NextStudent’s Private Student Loans. Oftentimes, original estimates of college costs are significantly lower than the actual costs. This is where private student loans fill that gap, to the tune of the lesser of $40,000 per year or the cost of attendance (less any financial aid received). Since funds are disbursed directly to the borrower, students and their parents retain control of their funds. Students must be enrolled in school at least half time and may not require a co-signer. Funds also are available for study abroad and distance learning programs.

Student Loan Consolidation: Key to Savings

Once students have used funds to cover costs and completed their education, it is time to take action to save money. College seniors who consolidate their student loans can end up saving thousands and slashing their student loan payments by up to 60 percent, putting them into a sound financial position as they enter the “real world.” Students must have at least two federal student loans having a minimal student loan balance totaling $10,500 and may qualify for the NextStudent student loan consolidation program over the phone in as little as five minutes. One particularly aggressive benefit that saves students thousands is the “Standard Locked” package where borrowers receive a 1 percent LOCKED rate reduction after 36 consecutive on-time payments.

NextStudent believes that getting an education is the best investment you can make, and it is dedicated to helping you pursue your education dreams by making college funding simple. Learn more about federal student loans, private student loans, and? student loan consolidation at NextStudent.com.

Jeff Mictabor
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