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College bills are coming due

by jmaloni
Sat, Jul 30th 2011 07:00 am

College tuition invoices are in the mail and will be due in the next several weeks, leaving some New York state students and families scrambling to fill the tuition gap between their available financial aid and the amount due.

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), the state's student financial aid agency, reminds students and parents looking to finance their college costs for the upcoming academic year about the availability of fixed rate education loans through the New York Higher Education Loan Program (NYHELPs). Students, parents, or non-parent sponsors who have exhausted all other low-cost financial aid options can receive a NYHELPs loan to help pay for a student's total cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, books and transportation costs.

NYHELPs loans are available only to New York state residents. Borrowers must first apply for and receive all other free and low-cost aid for which they are eligible before they can receive loans that are capped at $20,000 for students pursuing a two-year program of study, $50,000 for students pursuing a four-year program of study and $70,000 for students pursuing their graduate study. Students must be attending one of the more than 90 participating colleges.

"Distinctions have been made nationally about the benefits and reliability of state private education loan programs, which can offer fixed interest rates and provide students and parents with predictable payments over the life of the loan," said Elsa Magee, acting president of HESC. "Because of these benefits, independent financial aid organizations advise potential private education loan borrowers to look to student loans offered by their home state or risk missing out on some of the best private loan options available for higher education."

For the 2011-12 academic year, NYHELPs will offer fixed interest rates of 7.55 percent for borrowers choosing to make immediate principal and interest repayments, 8.25 percent for borrowers opting to make interest only payments, and 8.75 percent for borrowers looking to defer all payments until graduating. Borrowers who elect to make automated debit payments will receive an additional 0.25 percent interest rate reduction upon entering into repayment. The estimated annual percentage rate ranges from 8.78 percent to 11.19 percent, depending on loan repayment selected and the borrower's default fee.

To learn more or apply for a NYHELPs loan, visit www.hesc.com/NYHELPs.

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