A Guide to College Loans for Single Parent Students in Wisconsin

Although the high costs of a college education can often act as a deterrent to single parents wishing to return to study, there are a number of student loan forgiveness programs in Wisconsin which can be arranged prior to embarking on a degree course. For those single parents who are prepared to work within the public sector upon graduation there are loans available to help finance college which can then be forgiven. These are not the same as the federal loan forgiveness program which is arranged after graduation but are issued by the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board.

There are four types of loan which can be taken out through the board to help finance the cost of college, and award amounts vary. There is the minority teaching loan, the nursing student loan, the teacher loan and the teacher of the visually impaired loan. These loans could be taken out together with federal student loans, but the student would know in advance that the loans would be subject to forgiveness providing the terms are adhered to.

As an example the loan for the teacher of the visually impaired will award up to $10,000 per annum. Students who then go on to teach the blind and visually impaired in a designated center can have 25% of the loan forgiven for each of the first two years of teaching, and then the remaining 50% forgiven in the third year. This is an excellent loan program and those interested should get further information directly from the Wisconsin higher education aids board. Those who wish to enter nursing can take a loan worth up to $3000 per annum and can then have 25% of the loan forgiven for each of the first 2 years of nursing in a designated area, and then repay the remainder of the loan at 5% interest.

The usual form of student loan funding is available through completion of the FAFSA application which gives the single parent student access to federal student loans which are the cheapest form of borrowing generally. Usually the advice is to borrow as much as one requires through the federal program which is still true in Wisconsin, but may need reviewing by those students interested in the in state forgiveness programs.

The loan for teaching the visually impaired could well cover the majority of necessary funding for those interested in the program. However completion of the FAFSA gives students the chance to be eligible for the federal Pell grant and other state grants which may be useful and should always be applied for first. Federal Perkins and Stafford loans are available at low fixed interest rates through the federal department of education and are not subject to credit checks.

If federal funding is not sufficient and private loans are needed to make up the difference with college costs, then the University of Wisconsin credit union offers a fixed rate loan with no fees and co-signer release after 36 months of consecutive payments. This is worth investigating if private loans are a necessity.

In addition to federal funding and in state forgiveness programs the student should also make enquiries with the financial aid officer of the individual colleges to see what other form of grants and scholarships may be available. This should be done at the earliest opportunity as are usually awarded on the basis of first come first served.

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