1201 S. State Street,
Big Rapids, MI 49307
If the financial aid you are awarded is not enough to cover all of your educational expenses, here are some other options to consider:
Do you and your family have assets that you can use to pay your college expenses. This could include cash, savings, education savings plans, retirement plan loans, home equity loans, etc. If not, is there enough money in your monthly household budget to reasonably cover the out of pocket expense if you could divide it into three or four equal monthly payments? If so, there are payment plan options that you may wish to consider.
Your federal financial aid eligibility is based on your 2022 federal income tax information. If there has been a significant reduction of your family income since 2022, we encourage you to review our Special Circumstances Webpage.
While you are encouraged to continuously search for scholarship opportunities before you begin college and throughout your education, we advise families not to count on scholarship funds unless you have actually been awarded a scholarship. Scholarships are very competitive. Search for scholarships, but prepare to cover your costs without the scholarship dollars.
Our Scholarships website has a lot of valuable information to help you begin your scholarship search efforts.
Many families find that they need loans to cover their educational costs. Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans are the loans that we recommended first, as they have advantages, particularly during repayment, that private loans do not offer. These federal loan options typically also have the best interest rates and very low processing fees.
If the loans offered to you by FAFSA are not sufficient to cover your needs, there are "alternative loan" options that can assist you and your family in obtaining the funding you need to cover your educational expenses. Because credit inquiries expire after 90 days, Alternative Loan applications are available beginning on June 1 prior to each academic year. There are a couple of things you should know before you begin searching for alternative loans:
- Traditional full-time college students will typically not qualify for private loan options without the assistance of a credit-worthy cosigner. The cosigner is typically the student's parent(s), but cosigners can be any credit-worthy person that is willing to do so.
- If your parent has credit issues, there is an option that may help you. The federal Parent PLUS Loan is very easy to qualify for. The Parent PLUS Loan is a loan for parents of dependent students and this loan options has very lenient credit standards. Unless your parent has seriously adverse credit, your parent will likely be approved for the Parent PLUS Loan - even if your parent is not currently employed.
- If your parent is denied for the Parent PLUS Loan, in that limited instance we can offer you (the student) an additional unsubsidized federal loan for up to $4000 per year if you are a freshman/sophomore or up to $5000 per year if you are a junior/senior**. This amount may not be enough to cover your full out of pocket expense, but in many cases it can help make the remainder more manageable for you and your family. If your parent is denied for the Parent PLUS Loan, they need to select "I do not wish to proceed with this application" to prompt our office to offer you the additional unsubsidized loan.
- For parents with good credit histories, you may want to consider private student or parent loan options instead of the federal Parent PLUS Loan. Although the federal Parent PLUS Loan is easy to qualify for, there is a relatively high loan processing fee charged for this loan option (the processing fee is over 4%). Private student or private parent loans typically do not charge loan processing fees.
Please click this link for more information or to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan.
If you are considering private alternative loans, you are encouraged to visit our private loan webpage to help guide you through the process.
** Students enrolled in a two-year Associate's Degree program are eligible for a maximum of $4000, regardless of the number of credit hours earned.