College students facing trouble getting loans

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SHERMAN, TX -- Financial aid advisors say when the economy took a hit several years ago it became more difficult for parents to qualify for loans to put their kids through college. It is a problem that advisors at Austin College say they see every semester.

Austin College Assistant Director of Admissions James Benson says just last year, when he was a student, he ran into problems with financial aid.

"I filled out my FASFA and there was a Parent Plus Loan on it and so my mom filled out the application for it and was denied the Parent Plus Loan," Benson said.

Executive Director of Financial Aid Laurie Coulter says this is a common problem students and their parents face.

"By chance the parents are denied the loan the student is eligible to do an additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan," Coulter said. "Freshmen and Sophomores are eligible for $4,000 dollars additional and Juniors and Seniors are eligible for $5,000 dollars more."

Benson says thankfully that Stafford loan was enough to cover his expenses, but in other cases it still is not enough. That is when Coulter advises students to apply for a private loan with a credit worthy co-signer.

"If there is no credit worthy co-signer and there is still a balance owed the next best thing would be to go to the business office and see if they can work out some kind of a payment plan," Coulter said.

Coulter has been helping students with their financial aid for more than 20 years and says its become more challenging for students to get the money they need.

"It definitely has to do with the economy and the family situations that they've been experiencing since 2008," Coulter said.

Benson knows first-hand the difficulties and offers this advice.

"My best advice would be just to ask, ask your financial aid office if there's anymore they can do," Benson said.

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