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How to borrow smart for college

(StatePoint) It’s no secret college can be expensive, and families are often faced with finding creative ways to cover the costs. Whether borrowing student loans or parent loans has always been part of your family’s plan or it is suddenly being considered due to new financial circumstances, there is good news: several smart strategies can help you save money.
• Automate payments: Automating payments not only gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your bills will be paid on time, every time, but some lenders even offer interest rate reductions alongside this option.
• Choose a shorter repayment term: Some private lenders allow you to customize the length of your repayment term. If it’s in your monthly budget to do so, select a shorter term. While monthly payments will likely be higher, you’ll save in the long run.
• Start early: Consider making monthly payments on the loan while the student is still in school. Payments may be deferred during this time, but the loan may still be accruing interest that will be added to your loan balance. Check with your lender. Use a student loan calculator, like the one from College Ave Student Loans to see how a small monthly amount can make a big difference.
• Go above and beyond: When possible, make additional payments on your loan. Whether you choose to do this monthly or in lump sums after special occasions (e.g. tax refunds and graduation gifts), this can be a good way to get ahead of your repayment schedule and reduce interest charges. Just be sure your lender doesn’t charge a fee for doing so.
• Borrow federal first: Borrow federal student loans in the student’s name first. They offer low fixed interest rates to all borrowers, not just those with excellent credit scores. Plus, they offer special benefits like income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness options not typically offered on private loans
• Shop around: If federal student loans don’t adequately cover college costs, private student loans can fill the gap. Be sure to comparison shop to learn which lender will offer you a good interest rate, as well as multiple repayment options that fit your family’s budget. When shopping, look for a pre-qualification tool offered on the lender’s site that will share what rates you can expect without a hard check on your credit.
  There are a number of private student and private parent loan options available at great rates from College Ave Student Loans, which offers streamlined customer service features and cost-saving perks, such as an interest rate reduction when you automate payments and no penalties for additional payments made. Their easy, transparent loan application process offers an instant credit decision, so there is no period of uncertainty. More tips, resources, guides and financial expert advice to help you navigate the financial road to college can be found by visiting,
  “The pandemic has created some uncertainty for many families,” says Joe DePaulo, co-founder and CEO of College Ave Student Loans. “However, there are steps you can take now to create a solid plan to cover your upcoming college costs.”

Read Business Page 8
Flagstar Bank commits $1 million in
grants to local communities for black, indigenous
and people of color-owned businesses
PRNewswire/ -- Flagstar Bank is keeping a promise and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the communities it serves by giving $1 million in grants to help small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color whose operating expenses are impacted by COVID-19. Businesses owned by people of color have been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with nearly half of black-owned businesses shuttered by the pandemic.
  Qualifying small businesses can submit applications now through Nov. 20 for grants of $5,000. Flagstar has partnered with BIPOC nonprofits in its key banking markets to vet and administer the grants. Qualifications include diverse ownership, revenues of no more than $1 million, and a location within Flagstar Bank's footprint of Michigan; Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana; and the High Desert of San Bernardino County, California. Additional qualifications, grant uses and other information are available in the application.
     "We hope to combat the narrative that there is no assistance for minority-owned businesses," said Dwan Dandridge, CEO of Black Leaders Detroit, one of the nonprofit partners. "We were founded to serve the entrepreneurs to do more with less. We are proud to team up with Flagstar to help these businesses survive, thrive and enhance the vitality of our communities."
     "We have a commitment to our communities and to keeping our promises to them," said Alessandro DiNello, CEO of Flagstar Bank. "Reversing decades of systemic inequities is a marathon, and we are in it to the finish. These grants are an important milestone along the way to making our communities and our company better and more equitable for all."
     All business information submitted with the applications will be confidential. Businesses selected to receive grants will be notified Dec.4, with funds disbursed a few days later.