Friday, July 18, 2008

LIBOR or Prime Rate?

With the start of college just a few weeks away, it's not too early to begin figuring out how you're going to finance the new school year.

If you're like most people, you may need some private student loans to help fill the gap that's remaining after you've accounted for savings, scholarships, Federal student loans, and Mom & Dad.

Like anything else, comparison shopping of student loan rates and benefits is important, to help keep your borrowing costs and debt down. Many lenders offer loans touting LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) rates, and others, the Prime rate. Both rates are interest rate benchmarks or indices used by most financial institutions around the world to set interest rates for their own particular credit products.

Both have their similarities and differences.
Click here for the similarities and differences between LIBOR and Prime Rates.

What's important is sorting out the bottom line costs while you borrow and after you borrow. Take the time to ask questions.

Just be forewarned though...the lowest interest rates are usually available to those who have very good credit, or who have cosigners with very good credit. If your
credit score is under 660, it would be wise for you to get a creditworthy cosigner.

And while we're talking about student loans, be sure to include OneSimpleLoan® on your private student loan shopping list. In addition to great rates, the Student Loan Consultants are wonderfully knowledgeable people who will answer all your questions!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Get the Facts about Student Loans & College Financial Aid

If finding financial aid to help you pay for school leaves you feeling more befuddled and confused, you're not alone. To help you, there's a new website we've created called is designed just as its name says: to give you the information you need to help you understand Student Aid 101 basics, including:

College Financial Aid Timelines to follow while in high school to maximize "free money" opportunities in the form of scholarships and grants

• What you need to know about
FAFSA and why it's so vital

• All about
credit and credit scores

Federal and Private Student Loans — which is right for you?

There's lots more on this new site. At, we're here to help you get the facts you need to afford your college education!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Get the money you need for college -- now!

Hi Blog Readers!

With many of you returning to classes this week, I just wanted to remind you that you can still get the money you need for your college expenses --- not just for your tuition!

If after exhausting your Federal aid, grants and scholarships, you still need extra funds to pay for your college-related expenses, you can apply for a private student loan from OneSimpleLoan -- it can be used on college expenses like:
  • Tuition and fees
  • Books
  • Housing costs/rent/utilities
  • Commuting costs to and from class/transportation
  • Computer equipment/Internet access for online research
  • College meals/food
  • Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
  • and more!
You can still apply for a private student loan from OneSimpleLoan and get the money you need in as little as a couple days! Unlike some Federal aid, the check comes to you and Private student loans can be used on ANY college related expenses!

Best of all, you don't have to pay anything back until after graduation!

So, call us at 1-877-663-7467 or check out for more information on private student loans!

Good luck! :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Here's why you should fill out the FAFSA

Financial aid isn't limited to low-income families. Yale University announced last week that it's increasing financial aid for families with income of up to $180,000 a year. The announcement followed similar moves by Harvard, Duke and other top schools to reduce the burden on even upper-middle-class families.

Of course, to receive this aid, your child must be admitted to one of these schools, and competition is particularly brutal this year. Harvard said last week that it has received more than 27,000 applications — a record high — for about 1,670 freshmen slots.

Still, if your child has what it takes to get into an Ivy League school, it's worth a shot, because you probably won't have to go into debt to pay the bills.

For most families, "If a child is accepted at Harvard and Berkeley, it's now less expensive to send that child to Harvard," says Terry Hartle, senior vice president for the American Council on Education.

But to qualify for these generous financial aid packages — or any financial aid — you must fill out a FAFSA. The form is used to determine eligibility not only for federal aid but for state aid and for scholarships and grants from private schools.

  • You need a FAFSA to apply for federal student loans. All college students are eligible for unsubsidized Stafford loans, no matter how much money their parents make, Kantrowitz notes. These loans, which the federal government guarantees, offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than private student loans.
Maxing out on federal student loans before taking out private loans is even more important this year. The fallout from the subprime mortgage market has affected all types of loans, including private student loans.

Private lenders are expected to tighten credit standards and increase interest rates and fees. Interest rates on most private loans are variable, so there's no limit on how high they can go.
The rate for unsubsidized Stafford loans is 6.8% for the life of the loan. The rate for new subsidized Stafford loans, available to students who can show financial need, will drop to 6% on July 1. And under a federal financial aid bill enacted last year, Stafford borrowers will never have to spend more than 15% of their discretionary income on loan payments.

Smoothing the way

Once you've resolved to fill out the FAFSA, here's how you can improve your chances of receiving aid:

  • Apply online. You'll immediately receive confirmation that your application has been received, along with a preliminary estimate of your Expected Family Contribution — the amount your family will be expected to pay under the federal financial aid formula. In addition, the online application lets you list up to 10 schools to receive your financial information, says Kalman Chany, author of Paying for College Without Going Broke. If you use the paper application, you're limited to four schools, he says.
  • Know your deadlines. If you're applying to a state school in Connecticut, get busy, because the deadline for financial aid applications for such colleges is Feb. 15. That's the earliest state deadline, but several others impose a March 1 deadline. Some private schools and scholarship programs also impose early deadlines. You can find deadlines for state schools at Private schools and scholarship programs usually provide deadlines on their websites.
  • Start collecting your documents. To complete the FAFSA, you'll need your 2007 income tax returns, bank statements, brokerage statements and mortgage information (see box for checklist).
  • If you haven't done your 2007 taxes, you can estimate your earnings and revise them later if necessary.
  • Make sure to use the student's full legal name and Social Security number when filling out the form. If the student's name doesn't match the number in the Social Security Administration's database, your application will be delayed.
Article featured in USA Today, January 22, 2008.

Click here for more information about FASFA.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

'Professional judgment’ could be password for more college money

[As published in the Kansas City Star, Saturday, January 12, 2008]

Wouldn’t it be great if you could whisper a secret financial aid password at just the right moment and suddenly get a much better college deal?

What if knowing just how to use these magical words could help you sidestep rigid financial aid rules and “supersize” your award package by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars?

Listen closely: The password is “professional judgment.”

To the eager ears of college financial aid officers, these two simple words carry considerable weight: They invoke the authority that has been granted to college officials by the federal government to make financial aid adjustments on a case-by-case basis.

Are your family’s special circumstances not fully addressed in the financial aid formulas? Have any aspects of your finances changed since the date you submitted your forms? If so, you’re a great candidate for a professional judgment adjustment that can reduce what you’re expected to pay and boost your financial aid award.

To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, here are just a few of the special family circumstances that can help you build a compelling professional judgment case:
  • One-time taxable income: If you’ve received extra income because of a family inheritance, insurance settlement or employment bonus, then this one-time windfall may overshadow your family’s regular annual income.
  • Fluctuating job income: If your family’s income was unusually high because of factors that are not likely to recur (such as the availability of significant overtime wages or special sales commissions), then the income listed on your aid forms may overstate your family’s true ability to pay.
  • Noteworthy expenses: If your family bears the burden of high medical, dental or elder-care or child-care bills, then such expenses should be factored into the equation even though they are largely ignored by financial aid formulas.
  • Parents enrolled in college: If a parent is attending college to pursue a degree — especially for career advancement or a change in career path — then this is equivalent to having another sibling enrolled in college at the same time.
  • Private school tuition: Families with younger siblings who attend private elementary or secondary schools clearly have significant tuition expenses that are overlooked in the financial aid formulas.
Regardless of your specific circumstances, the key to leveraging professional judgment is to provide credible documentation. If you have high medical or dental expenses, for instance, provide copies of the bills. If your employment income last year was unusually high, supply tax returns from the prior three years as evidence.
Once you’ve received a college’s initial financial aid award letter, here’s what you do: Call to make an appointment with the financial aid administrator assigned to your case. Confidently drop the words “professional judgment” into the conversation. Explain that you would like to send some background documentation prior to your appointment to help the administrator gain a better understanding of your unique situation.

If you do this, your chances of success are quite good. According to a recent study, about half of all professional judgment reviews resulted in a financial aid increase. If you follow all of the above guidelines to clearly document and structure your argument, your odds will be even better.

How much additional college dough might you get?

It depends on your situation, but I’ve actually witnessed a family gain an extra $30,000 in financial aid.
If good fortune like this falls into your lap, you probably won’t want to just whisper the secret password. So go ahead — shout out, “Professional judgment rocks!” all the way to the bank.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Deducting Student Loan Interest

Attention College Students,

"You can deduct up to $2,500 in student-loan interest paid in 2007 if your income for the year was $55,000 or less if single, or $110,000 or less if married filing jointly," Kiplinger reports. "Single people can take a partial deduction if they earned up to $70,000 for the year, or $140,000 if married filing jointly. You can take the deduction regardless of whether you itemize. You may even qualify to take the write-off yourself if your parents paid the interest on a loan for which you were legally liable (your parents, however, cannot claim the deduction if they weren't liable for the loan). You cannot deduct student-loan interest if you are being claimed as a dependent on your parents' tax return."

You can read the complete January 7, 2008
Kiplinger article on-line to learn more.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Apply Early For Federal Student Aid With The FAFSA, New Features Make Filing Easier And Faster!

[The following is a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Education.]

The start of the calendar year also marks the beginning of the college financial aid season with the release of the U.S. Department of Education's 2008-09 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the qualifying form for all federal grants and loans as well as many state and private student aid programs.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education disburses more than $80 billion in higher education grants and loans to students attending postsecondary schools, but, to qualify, students must first complete the FAFSA.
"We want to make sure students and families take full advantage of the billions of dollars in federal financial assistance available to them for postsecondary education each year," Secretary Margaret Spellings said. "Most families are eligible to receive some type of financial aid; they just have to take that first step and complete the application."

Each year, an estimated 14 million applicants apply, and more than 10 million receive some type of federal grant or loan.

More than 95 percent of FAFSAs are submitted online, and now, with several added features, it is easier than ever to apply online. Students and families can:
  • Request a personal identification number (PIN) and immediately receive it to electronically sign the application.
  • Submit an online FAFSA and immediately receive a confirmation with a preliminary expected family contribution.
  • List up to 10 schools to receive the provided financial aid information.
  • Copy parental information to another FAFSA application for a second or third child.

To determine aid eligibility, students and families should fill out the FAFSA as early as possible after Jan. 1 for the academic year beginning July 1. Many factors contribute to a student's eligibility for federal financial aid besides income, such as the size of the family and the age of the oldest parent. Completing a FAFSA is the only way students and families can find out how much federal aid they are eligible to receive.
Although completing the FAFSA online is the preferred method for most families, there are other FAFSA filing options available, including downloading the form or ordering a hard copy. Both online and hard copy FAFSAs are available in English and Spanish at the Federal Student Aid Web site,, by clicking FAFSA Filing Options. Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, ensures that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded or federally guaranteed financial assistance for education beyond high school. To learn more, visit

Original article appears at