Managing Student Loans

The state of Arizona actively encourages students to pursue a secondary education by making financial aid available to students. This is of particular benefit to those students who have a low income background, an area which typically includes single parents struggling to raise the funds to attend college.

Choosing the right Arizona college or university could make a difference to how much help you will be able to obtain. As an example the University of Arizona helps 46,000 students annually with financial aid, and has just introduced an optional guaranteed tuition fee program. This means that students who are interested in participating can lock into tuition costs at a fixed level for 4 years, thus knowing exactly what their tuition costs will be for the whole of their college education. This is an excellent chance to fix costs which can rise annually at variable rates, leaving students struggling to manage higher fees.

All single parent students must first complete and submit the FAFSA application which is used to determine eligibility for the free Pell grant, federal Perkins loan, and Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized loans. These are the least expensive types of student loan available and are government guaranteed. The loans are not subject to credit checks and those with the greatest financial need will qualify for the subsidized Stafford loan, meaning that no repayments on interest are due until after graduation.

Single parent students should ensure that which ever institute they choose to study at that they contact the school financial aid office to find out what assistance can be provided. School assistance can come in many forms: there may be campus based work available, work study programs or scholarships and grants. Be sure to enquire early as these can be popular opportunities.

Usually there is still a shortfall between federal loans and financial aid, and the full costs involved in obtaining a degree. This is when private student loans are necessitated, and the student should search carefully between lenders and compare the loan products on offer. Co-signers are usually required if the applicant has poor credit, but single parents may not require this if they have worked steadily and have a good credit history already.

The Arizona Higher Education loan authority was the state non-profit provider of student loans, but with the law changing regarding the federal FFELP program the AHE will no longer be issuing new loans. Students should still make in state enquiries to see if any new products become available at preferential rates for in state residents.

With careful planning and the willingness to apply for financial aid it is possible for the single parent to return to college, providing an opportunity for a better career move at the end. If the thought of graduating with so much debt is unnerving it is also worth investigating the various federal loan forgiveness programs on offer which very often tie in well for an employee with children to raise.