It’s time to pay the tuition bill!

Things To Consider

Funding gap?

If you have a gap in funding – the actual direct costs that show up on the tuition bill less any grants, scholarships and possibly the federal student loans, is called a gap. There are different options available to pay that gap. Consider 529 monies, savings, family, HELOC, or maybe a college payment plan. It is not recommended that you pay via credit card (unless you have the means to pay it off – as colleges usually pass on the fee) or to withdraw retirement funds. Always wait for the actual bill before applying for either loan type. Do not borrow more than needed.

Federal vs. private

The options for education loans fall into two categories; federal loans or private loans. Federal parent loans are commonly referred to as Parent Plus loans. The parent that completed the FAFSA with their FSA ID is the parent that can log into and apply for the PPL. This usually takes about 15 minutes to complete and approved within 48 hours. Remember this is a parent loan, that is linked to the parent until completely paid. Read additional information about PPL here or reach out with any questions.

Apply to multiple lenders

Private lenders vary widely and many offer incentives to entice you. Though these incentives can be a benefit, it is not wise to choose a lender for those benefits alone. The interest rate and payback options need to fit your budget and cash flow. I recommend applying to at least two, maybe three lenders to be sure you are getting a loan that fits your needs. Again, once you receive the bill, start the application process, as it can take 7-10 days. Rates are not locked in until the master promissory note is signed.

Here are some of my vetted and approved lenders:


Autopay discounts, variable and fixed rates, some no-cosigned loans


Lower rates, based on the number of families that apply


Save time and money searching for private loan rates by starting here


Here is a loan calculator to compare PPL vs. private loans.

Remember to have a plan for repayment, or schedule an appointment with me!


Thank you so much for our Tuition Bill review. It was amazing how much we still didn’t know and were about to pay thousands of dollars. Your explanation was so helpful and made me feel much better about our chosen payment path and sending MacKenzie off to college. The best money we spent on college!

David O. Penfield, NY

That FAFSA had us stumped but you got us through it! I appreciate the multiple calls and patience working it all out. I know our divorced situation wasn’t easy. Highly recommend your services for any college finance question. We’ll get back to you for our next one!

Megan S. Roanoke, VA