Scholarships, Awards and Savings Not ''Making the Grade'' When It Comes to Paying for College This Year?: SimpleTuition Offers Tips on How Families Can Finance the Gap

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With college expenses at an all time high, families are grappling with how to pay for it all. For the 2006-2007 school year, the average total cost, including tuition, fees, room, and board, at four-year public institutions was $12,796, while at private intuitions it averaged $30,367.(1) For many families, it's clear that scholarships, awards and personal savings will not pay the college bills, so families must determine the best way to fill "the gap."

SimpleTuition is dedicated to helping parents and students make sense of their education financing choices

    "Many families feel challenged when they discover their hard earned savings, scholarships, grants and other income do not cover all of today's college costs," said Kevin Walker, CEO, SimpleTuition, Inc. "After maxing out with Federal student loans, families are left searching for ways to finance the remaining 'gap'. Often, private student loans are used to cover part of the gap, but given the difficulty in comparing loan pricing, structures, and details like borrower benefits, families are often left confused and turn to options which may not be the best financial alternative."

SimpleTuition offers the following suggestions to parents and students as they think about how to finance the gap:

-- Max out on Federal student loans before turning to private loans. Ultimately, federal loans (look for names like "Stafford," "Ford," or "Perkins" in your financial aid award letter) are lower cost loans and have more flexible repayment structures.

-- Take the time to research and compare loan options. It's the best way to ensure a good loan choice based on your financial situation.

-- Weigh Borrower Benefits carefully. Most lenders offer incentives (sometimes called "borrower benefits") to help their products stand out. Students and parents need to evaluate each benefit for any eligibility requirements. Keep in mind that Borrower Benefits on private loans generally make less of an impact than on federal loans; you may want to evaluate private loans on their base structure, placing less weight on Borrower Benefits.

-- When applying for a private loan, apply with a credit-worthy co-signer. This will increase your chances of approval for the loan and will likely improve the rate and fee combination you receive.

"SimpleTuition is dedicated to helping parents and students make sense of their education financing choices," says Walker. "Students and parents can visit our website for easy-to-understand, independent information. At our site families can research, compare and apply for student loans that make the most sense for their unique financial situation."

After answering a few quick questions - such as, amount needed, date needed, and year of graduation - SimpleTuition's online tool custom crunches numbers to allow users research and comparison on over 100 different loan products from more than 45 lenders. This easy to use platform has helped thousands of families determine the best loan options for their needs. SimpleTuition is not a lender. For more information visit http://www.simpletuition.com.

About SimpleTuition, Inc.

Founded in 2005, SimpleTuition is dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing options. Recently featured as one of Fast Company's Top 12 Web 2.0 sites and received Outstanding Achievement Award for website development from the Interactive Media Council, SimpleTuition offers the leading independent and interactive solution for researching and comparing over 100 private, PLUS, Stafford, GradPLUS and Federal Consolidation loans from more than 45 lenders. SimpleTuition is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts and is funded by Atlas Venture, IDG Ventures Boston and North Hill Ventures. For more information, visit http://www.SimpleTuition.com.

(1) CollegeBoard: Trends in College Pricing 2006-07

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