I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Financial Expert, Author and TV Personality, Farnoosh Torabi most notably of Bank of Mom and Dad and The Nate Berkus Show to discuss ways students can save for college tuition and the ins and outs of scholarships, financial aid and student loans!
Financial Expert, Farnoosh Torabi – Image via Farnoosh.TV
Candace Rose: What are the smartest and best ways to save and pay for college?
Farnoosh Torabi: “The smartest and best ways to pay for college begins with applying for free money, scholarships, grants; the millions and millions of dollars that students have access to each and every year to help them supplement their college expenses, that would be the first destination I think.”
CR: What are some of the most fiscally responsible choices for federal and private student loans?
FT: “So, I would first start with federal student loans. You want to apply for the FAFSA which is the free application for Federal Student Aid, that’s FAFSA.Gov. You can apply for that, it’s kind of an open ended application but I would recommend if you’re headed to college; you’re a high school senior – you want to apply the year that you’re applying for college. If you still need some aid, if there’s a gap to fill beyond the scholarships and beyond to the federal aid, look into private student loans. There’s a wide variety of them and you want to look for student loans that offer low terms, good payment options, low interest rates. I’ve actually partnered with Sallie Mae, the biggest provider of private student loans and they have what’s called the ‘smart option loan’ and students can actually pay down the loan a little bit at a time when they are in college and also get the benefit of a shorter term, so they pay off the loan faster and they save on interest over the life of the loan.”
Sallie Mae – SallieMae.com
CR: Where can we go to find scholarship listings and search for free money?
FT: For scholarship listings and a list of free money, you want to check out sites like FastWeb.com, Scholarships.com, as well as SallieMae.com – the site has a huge database of millions of dollars worth of scholarships and grants.”
CR: Do you have any advice for those applying for scholarships?
FT: “My number one advice for anyone interested in scholarships is don’t underestimate your ability to qualify. I think a lot of students follow the myth that they don’t have the grades or the community service hours but that should not be a reason to avoid the free money. There’s something out there for everybody, the key is to really cast a wide net. Read up on all the eligibility factors and contact not only those websites but also your parents employers, your community service groups, your church groups- wherever you may think they have some free money lying around and they want to support your educational pursuits.”
CR: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
FT: Well, I think we covered much of the advice but I would say be thoughtful about financing your education, understand you don’t have to bear the entire burden yourself. It’s good to come into the investment with some skin in the game and some of your own money that you’ve saved up over the years but there are other resources out there to help you finance the education and SallieMae.com/ChooseSmart is a great place to learn more about what we’ve talked today and what we’ve covered and some of your other options for financing a college education.”