Credit Crunch Puts the Squeeze on Student Lending Options : Families, Don't Wait! Start Shopping Around For Resources to Pay the Fall Semester Bill

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The credit crunch has arrived at college campuses and many families who qualified for student loans last year could find themselves without loans this year if they wait until August to apply. The first tuition bill is just hitting the family’s mailbox, leaving only 60 days to determine how to pay the bill. With even more limited savings and home equity, families are going to have to rely on student loans now more than ever. Yet less lender participation combined with tougher credit restrictions for private loans leave families in a challenging position.

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For students and families who need to borrow, one thing is clear, they need to start shopping around for options now

This spring, a leading student loan lender warned that the demand for student loans will "significantly exceed lender supply" for the 2008-2009 school year, and another Top 5 lender announced it will not make any private student loans this year. Clearly, 2008 will be a particularly challenging year for students and families to secure the financing they need to cover college costs. Fortunately, there are loan options available and online resources to turn to as many families that are shopping around have realized.

"For students and families who need to borrow, one thing is clear, they need to start shopping around for options now," said Kevin Walker, CEO of SimpleTuition, Inc., a company dedicated to helping students and parents make sense of education financing choices. "Borrowers need to start early this summer and allow extra time to secure student and parent loans. Money is still available, but the landscape is very different this year."

There are several factors driving the credit crunch this year and though access to student loans is more limited, there are opportunities. SimpleTuition offers the following tips to families:

Do your homework now. By shopping around early, there is a greater likelihood in finding the student loan options that best fits your financial scenario. Turn to the Web. A few established companies such as http://www.simpletuition.com are fast becoming valuable in the student loan search process. These online resources are objective and allow borrowers to research and compare loan options. Don't assume you will qualify for a private student loan this year just because you did last year. With fewer funds available for private loans and tighter credit restrictions, it's important check with current lenders to see if they are providing loans. Max out federal loans first before turning to private loan options. Evaluate alternative sources of financing. Peer to peer lending, PLUS Loans for parents and work study are a few other options. Kevin Walker is available for interview.

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