Make the Right Financial Choices for College – Tips from a Financial Industry Veteran



As a parent with one child in college and another heading off to college in the fall of 2017, I know all too well about the difficulties of finding a way to pay for it.

Below is a guest post from the CEO and co-founder of College Ave Student Loans that might help some parents to navigate the stressful process of paying for college. This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own.


College award letters have arrived and decision day has passed. Now tuition bills are arriving and many families are thinking: How do we pay for it?  As parents formulate a plan to afford college, private student loans can help bridge the gap between scholarships, grants, and federal student loans.  Here are some tips from College Ave Student Loans CEO and Co-Founder Joe DePaulo on things to consider when thinking about private student and parent loans:

Consider all of your options. Scholarships, grants, and federal student loans in the student’s name should be the first things families look to when budgeting for college.  Unfortunately, these sources aren’t always enough to cover the full cost of college.  A successful college funding strategy takes some research and planning, by looking at all available sources of funding.  For those with good credit, a private student loan or private parent loan might help with expenses not covered by other options.

Understand the importance of good creditUnlike federal loans, private student loans typically require a credit and income review to determine an individual’s anticipated ability to repay the loan. Since many students have limited credit history and income, private student loans typically require a cosigner (often a parent or guardian who has good credit and sufficient income) who agrees to take equal responsibility to repay the loan if the student borrower can’t. Some private lenders, like College Ave Student Loans, also offer parent loans for parents who want to borrow on their own without sharing responsibility with the student. Parents with strong credit may be able to save with private parent loans over the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, so be sure to shop around. Not sure about your credit? College Ave Student Loans offers simple and free credit pre-qualification tools at CollageAveStudentLoans.com so customers can quickly find out if their credit qualifies for a College Ave loan.

Make sure your plan goes beyond tuition.There are lots of extra costs of college beyond the school’s tuition and fees. Plan ahead for extra expenses likedorm supplies, books, or a new laptop. If a student is in off-campus housing, you may also need to think about utilities, groceries, gas and more. Schools factor these additional expenses into their cost of attendance. As long as your existing aid doesn’t exceed the school’s calculated cost of attendance, private student and parent loans can be used to cover those out-of-pocket costs. College Ave’s Parent Loan even offers the option for a portion of the loan funds to be deposited directly into the parents’ bank account – so they can control the spending for extra college costs.

Don’t assume all loans are the same.  If you decide that borrowing is the right option for your family, shop around to get a loan that works for you. Low rates are important, but also be sure to look for lenders with repayment options that help you match the loan to your budget. Be on the lookout for any application or origination fees as well. 

If you need to borrow, don’t wait until the last minute. The time from application to disbursement (when a student loan is sent to the school) varies. At a minimum, the process requires participation from you, your lender, and your school.  Even though this can be streamlined, there’s always the possibility that something could slow it down such as your school certifying your loan.  On top of that, there are certain regulatory periods (e.g., right-to-cancel period) that are required by law and cannot be reduced.

College Students

About the author:

Joe DePaulo, a financial services veteran, previously served as CFO, EVP of Banking and a member of the Board of Directors at Sallie Mae. Before Sallie Mae, he was CEO and co-founder of Credit One Financial Solutions, a company focused on debt consolidation. He previously held several executive positions as MBNA, including U.S. Card group executive and member of the corporate management committee.


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Need help paying for college?


Our daughter's high school graduation.

Our daughter’s high school graduation.

I am forever grateful that my father and step mother set up a special savings account for both of my children for college. Living paycheck to paycheck hasn’t afforded us the opportunity to to put aside much money to help our children pay for college. Thankfully their college funds can help pay for at least two years of college.

Our daughter is currently in college. She graduates this time next year. She is already looking into what college to transfer to.

There are many factors she is considering when looking at colleges to transfer to – majors, college life, area, reviews from other students, and the biggest factor of all – tuition.

When I look at the cost of tuition I get stressed out. It truly is a major investment, just like a car or a home. You really have to explore all options to make the best decisions for your family.

Now that our daughter’s college fun from grandpa is running out we need to find other ways for her to afford her college so that she can finish up her Bachelor’s Degree, and ideally her Master’s Degree down the road too.

One of the things that bothers us about most student loans is that their terms are not something we are comfortable with. We want a student loan that has payment terms that we feel are best for us.

Student Loans

I recently learned about College Ave Student Loans.  College Ave Student Loans is a leading online student loan marketplace.

The College Ave Student Loans parent page is loaded with a lot of valuable information about College Ave Student Loans, interest rates and how parents can save an average of $1,000 compared to Federal Student Loans. I’m all for saving money.

Another interesting thing that I like about College Ave Student Loans is that parents can get up to $2,500 direct deposited into their bank account. Those funds can be used to pay for other college expenses like books and dorm supplies. I can tell you first hand that college books are VERY expensive. Just one of my daughter’s books cost $300 – and it was a used book.

With most student loans, parents and students are required to start paying the loan back as soon as the student graduates. With the deferred payment and astronomical interest rates, students are looking at paying back hundreds of dollars each month. That is not that easy for a new college graduate to do.

A co-worker of my husband’s daughter is paying over $400+ per month toward her student loans. When I think about my daughter and how much she makes at her current job, there is no way she can afford that. It’s no wonder many college students end up back and home with their parents.

A unique thing with College Ave Student Loans is that parents and students can start paying the loan off right away. You do not have to wait until your student graduates from college. By paying off the loan while the student is in college you are saving a lot of money on interest.

College Ave Student Loans also lets parents/students to pick their own payment terms, making it easier and more convenient to pay back the loan. Repayment terms run from 5 to 12 years.

College Ave Tool

I was playing around with the College Ave Student Loans qualification tool and found that payment terms and amounts are very flexible. You could easily find something that works for you.

The tool shows you payment amounts for loans from $2,000 up to $80,000. I put in random amounts (thinking abut how much the colleges my daughter is looking into cost) and played around with the length of the loan and how much per month we could comfortably afford.

I found this to be a very valuable and eye opening tool.

If you have a child who heading off to college, and you are still up in the air about how you are going to afford the tuition and other expenses, I encourage you to check out College Ave Student Loans.

College Ave Student Loans also have no origination fees and lower rates than the federal loan for those with qualifying credit.

Let’s face it, paying for college is not easy, but knowing how much you can afford and how long it will take to pay it off makes the process a lot less stressing.

For more information visit the College Ave Student Loans homepage. From there you can you can access tools, loans, refinancing and more.

You can also check out College Ave Student Loans on social media. Their links can be found on the bottom right of their homepage.

Do you have a student in college? Do you have student loans? How are you dealing with them?

Do you have a student who will be attending college in the near future? How are you planning to help pay the cost of tuition and other expenses?

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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