Managing Student Loans

Many single parents struggle to raise families on low incomes which could be much improved if they had a college education and degree. In order to obtain a degree they will no doubt struggle even more as the problems of studying whilst running a house, raising children and working, can seem overwhelming. The last thing many want to do is take on the extra burden of college costs which are notoriously high and subject to inflation. However it need not be an insurmountable task if basic federal loan programs can be supplemented with grants.

The State of Delaware Higher Education Commission provides information about state funded grants which could be invaluable to the single parent student, and many of them are needs based. There are currently 23 state sponsored financial aid programs administered by the Delaware Higher Education Commission.

The single parent student should pay particular attention to some of the clauses which prevent state grants being used in conjunction with other grants. It would be possible to apply for and accept a state grant which would provide less financial aid than a federal Pell grant, so the details need to be studied well before application. In addition the Education Department also administers 8 private scholarships.

The first step to obtaining any state aid is to complete the federal FAFSA application. With this application the student can apply for federal Stafford loans which are guaranteed by the government and are not subject to credit checks. The application also gives single parent students the opportunity to obtain a federal Pell grant which is non repayable and given to students on low incomes.

The Delaware Economic Development Office has a work study grant program available to suit part time single parent students who are employed by companies within Delaware.

If the student uses the federal Stafford loans to fund college, which are the cheapest form of borrowing, there are 3 excellent programs for those willing to work within the public sector after graduation, which can lead to loan forgiveness. This essentially means that the student need not worry about the loans whilst in college as the interest payments on federal loans are deferred, and upon graduation up to $5000 per annum of student loan debt can be forgiven.

The 3 available programs from the state of Delaware include the Delaware Teacher Corps., and the Christina McAuliffe Teacher Incentive Program. Single parent students who are considering teaching as a career option are well advised to consider these programs as they allow for an affordable way to attend college without becoming burdened with loan debt.

Federal loans provided by in state lenders at competitive rates are no longer available to students from 7/1/2010.