What to Know About Paying For College

Paying for college can be challenging, but the team at Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union is there to help. (Read some college savings tips HERE.)

“Depending on the year in school, students are capped at how much they can borrow from the Federal Government for student loans,” said David Murphy, VP-Finance & Risk. “Private student loans can help fill in the gaps between tuition costs and the amount a student and their family can cover through Federal student loans, grants and scholarships, and their own savings.”

As with all student loans, borrowers must analyze whether private student loans are a good option for helping cover these costs or if the terms and conditions of a private student loan are not helpful to the student in the long run.

MMCCU partners with Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan program to help provide an option to students who are in need of student loans in addition to what is available through the Federal Government.

“While we are presently unable to offer student loans to our members, we acknowledge our members are in need of student loan options, and the Smart Option Student Loan program is a responsible option for students and their members to consider,” said Murphy.

Once students have exhausted funds from grants and scholarships and available borrowings from Federal student loans and savings accounts, the Smart Option Student Loan fills in the gaps between tuition costs and the amount available to the student.

The student (or parent if they are applying for one of their Parent loans) would be referred over to Sallie Mae and would apply for a student loan through the program.  If approved, Sallie Mae would receive certification from the school the student is attending as to the cost of tuition, as borrowers are eligible to borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance.

Once certification has been transmitted, Sallie Mae would remit funds directly to the school to cover the outstanding tuition balance, and the student would work with Sallie Mae to pay back the borrowed funds.

“The product offers competitive advantages over other private student loan programs with competitive rates and little to no fees charged,” said Murphy, adding that students and their families need to consider the long-term effects of borrowing to pay for schooling.

“In some situations, borrowing through student loans to pay for college is a feasible option to students and can provide an opportunity to advance their career prospects at a reasonable cost.  In other situations, the career trajectory doesn’t line up with the cost to attend the school the student is considering,” he said. “As always, we caution students and their families to weigh all options available before applying for student loans and to remain fiscally responsible in these decisions.”