I've become a mini expert on college financial aid - haha! Last week my son's girlfriend came to me looking for some advice. She is transferring into a private 4 year college in August (as a junior) and needs $15,000 in loans to cover the rest of her tuition and board. She had applied for loans at her credit union and 2 banks, with her dad as co-signer. All turned her down because her dad's credit score was too low....a 650. (that's another post in itself). She wasn't sure what to do and her parents had seemed to just be content to let her figure this all out on her own. Should she try to apply without his as cosigner (her score was 780, but she's only had credit a year or so), should she try to ask for smaller amounts and split up the loans with different banks? She was starting to really stress out.
A lightbulb went off as I suddenly remembered my recent reconnection with on old high school friend who's job is that of a university financial aid advisor! I got a hold of her and she was just a wealth of very helpful information that I could pass on to son's girlfriend. The next day girlfriends dad applied for the "Parent Plus Loan"- was approved instantly and girlfriend's all covered and one less thing to stress over. I was so glad I remembered that I could ask this friend for advice.
I had told my mom about it over the phone that night and the next day she was at her boyfriends (still seems strange calling a 78 year old man her boyfriend!) family gathering where his daughter was talking about college for their daughter and they weren't sure how they were going to pay for it all and the financial aid was so confusing. My mom put her on the phone with me and I passed along all the info I had to her. I haven't heard back on her yet, but she was really happy to have the info and the steps to take in the whole process.
It will be great for me too, come January of 2014, when Dd and I have to find our way through this same situation. I hadn't really thought of it much as an option, (unless Dd gets scholarships) as my mom will pay her tuition, but it sounds like we definitely need to go through the whole financial aid process first, to at least see if she qualifies for any aid first.