College Financial Aid Info/School Financing

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Question
I am a single mom currently residing in Atlanta, GA.  My son, 18 lives with his father in NYC.  Our divorce was granted in GA and child custody was decided in NYS.  I have little to no funding to provide for my child to attend college in the Fall of 2008.  1) If loans are needed, do I need to co-sign them or is the custodial parent responsible (my ex)? 2) What resources are out there to assist in my son's education?  Thank you.

Answer
Hello Becca,

Your son has many financial aid options. The best option for him would be to apply for government grants or federal loans, or for scholarships.

If he applies for a Federal Perkins Loan or a Subsidized Stafford Loan then he will not need anyone to cosign for him. Parents only need to cosign for their child if the child is applying for a private loan, but private loans should be your last resort because they have high interest rates and the rates can change over time. My advice would be to tell your son to complete the FAFSA to see if he is eligible for federal aid. To complete the FAFSA he can go here:
http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

Since he lives with his father, he will only need his father's tax information to complete the questions on the FAFSA. You won't have to worry about giving him your tax information.

Once he completes the FAFSA and is eligible for aid, he can apply for grants, which are free sources of money given by the government to help pay for school expenses. Here are some good sites that offer grants:
http://www.fedmoney.org/
http://www.freegovmoney.net/
http://www.grants.gov/

He can also apply for Federal Perkins Loans:
http://www.studentfinancedomain.com/student_loans/perkins_student_loans.aspx

And Subsidized Stafford Loans:
http://www.studentfinancedomain.com/student_loans/subsidized_stafford_loan.aspx

These are the best federal loans to get because they have low interest rates and the government will pay the interest on them as long as he stays enrolled in school.

He can also apply for scholarships, which are also free sources of money that he doesn't have to pay back. You can read more about them here:
http://www.studentfinancedomain.com/financial_aid/college_scholarship.aspx

Here are sites that offer scholarships:
http://www.findtuition.com/scholarships/
http://www.nextstudent.com/scholarship_search/scholarship_search.asp
http://www.brokescholar.com/
http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp
http://www.educationplanner.com/education_planner/paying_article.asp?sponsor=285
http://www.studentawards.com/
http://www.college-scholarships.com/

And finally, as a single mother, there are many resources out there to help you pay for education. Here are a few:
http://www.singlemom.com/single-moms-grants-loans-scholarships/
http://www.singlemotherresources.com/
http://www.singlemom.com/RESOURCES/resources.htm
http://oedb.org/scholarship/single-mothers
http://www.howtodothings.com/family-and-relationships/a4039-how-to-find-grants-f
http://ezinearticles.com/?Financial-Help-For-Single-Mothers&id=274716
http://www.christian-mommies.com/special-features/just-for-moms/grants-for-singl

You CAN cosign for private loans for your son if you have good credit and would like to extend it to him, but I would suggest letting him get the loans on his own to get him in the mode of being financially independent. But if you do decide to cosign for a private loan, I would suggest Astrive Student Loans:
http://www.astrivestudentloans.com/

I hope this information helped! Let me know if you have any more questions!

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Trish Smith

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I can answer a variety of questions on college financial aid, student bank accounts, student budgets, student credit cards, student loans, and scholarships.

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