Experts Say Federal Loans Remain Best Option for College


With Congress unable to agree on how to lower student loan interest rates, it has some people wondering if there's a better alternative to subsidized government loans.

Jessica Leacher is a senior at Michigan State and like so many others she's unhappy with Congress' inaction.

"As much as Congress continues to say 'we hear this frustration, we want to fix this frustration' we need to see them actually work to fix it," she said.

Like so many others, Leacher said she'll also be ending her college career with thousands in student loan debt.

"I do take out loans every year and that debt just keeps on increasing," she said. "Seeing the future of other students to possibly have even more increased debt is very disheartening."

The rising interest rates are driving some to look for alternatives to the subsidized federal student loans for better deals.

But Val Meyers, the associate director at MSU's financial aid office said those federal loans continue to remain the best bet for most.

"I've had students and parents feel that...[the federal loans]...are worse than perhaps a bank loan or a private student loan but that's not necessarily the case," Meyers said.

"They still have many advantages including the government backing, they have forgiveness options, they have deferment options and they don't require credit checks."

Meyers said the average student at Michigan State graduates with about $25,000 in student loan debt.

Being realistic and responsible when taking out loans is the best approach when dealing with inevitable tuition increases, she said.

"Every time you take out a loan understand what you're doing," she said. "You are taking out a loan you are going to have to repay and that may preclude you from buying other things."

Besides loans, Meyers said scholarships are also a great alternative to helping to pay for tuition.

"There's so many different ways that a student might come across a scholarship and we only can show them the tip of the iceberg," she said.


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