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Ask Felicia – Question and Answer

I am a 21 year old, single college student, about to begin the nursing program at my local community college. I have $14,616.28 in medical bills due to having emergency surgery and no health insurance. I work full time, support myself, and attend college full time. My parents are unwilling to help me with my college expenses, and because of my age I am considered of dependant status, but ineligible for and federal financial aid according to FAFSA. With the economy and my small salary as a waitress dwindling weekly because of it, and credit that has been devoured by my medical bills, I am truely wondering where my tuition money is coming from for this next semester. I was hoping to get a private loan for about $35,000 to pay off my medical bills, reestablish my credit, and foot the tuition of me finishing my degree for the next 2 years. I do have a cosigner, but am not sure where to look for loans that will be paid directly to me, or what other options i may even have.
thank you

Jacqueline Harding
Dear Jacqueline,
Having a co-signer will be key to you taking out a loan for $35,000. Your best bet for a student loan would be the federal programs BEFORE you would even consider a private loans. The loans have greater flexibility for repayment than private loans including two new programs that you might be able to take advantage of when you graduate.

You will find a number of loan forgiveness programs for nurses that you might be able to take advantage of at: http://www.finaid.org/loans/forgiveness.phtml. Many of these program will forgive up to 60% of your loans if using federal loans not private loans.

In addition, there is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Loan program that offers to forgive any loan balance you still have outstanding after 120 on-time payments if you work as a nurse in a clinical setting or as a full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations.

And finally, there is the Income-Based Repayment program that ties your repayment to your income. This might be especially helpful when you first graduate college and before you are making great income as a nurse. However both of the two last programs are only available to you if you take out loans from the federal government rather that taking out private loans.

Unfortunately, the federal programs will not allow you to borrow as much as you need and will often make the checks payable to you and the college rather than to you personally.

I’d suggest you take out as much as you qualify for from the federal government and then have your co-signer help you with the rest.

Dedicated to college success,

Felicia Gopaul
College Funding Resource

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