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Students and their families have plenty of options to consider when it comes to paying for college tuition. From scholarships to grants to loans, filling the gap can be a confusing proposition. Before deciding what options are right for you, here are a few important tips to keep in mind.

  1. Start with free money. Begin by maximizing "free" money that you won't have to pay back, including scholarships, grants, and work-study. We've partnered with Sallie Mae® to offer our members access to their Scholarship Search tool, with more than 5 million scholarship options worth $24 billion. Scholarships can be based on residency, personal interests, grades, and more. When you register to use Scholarship Search by Sallie Mae, you can enter a monthly $1,000 sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. See official rules at SallieMae.com/SweepstakesRules.
  1. Carefully consider how much money you need. Members CU encourages our members to borrow responsibly, only taking on the amount of debt you really need. Keep in mind that college costs include more than tuition – you may need to include funds for housing, food, school supplies, transportation, a computer, and more. Once you have the total cost for the upcoming year, subtract any scholarships or grant money you’ve received, as well as any savings you or your family plans to contribute toward your education.It’s important for students to borrow only what they need to fund their education, not necessarily a lifestyle. In some cases, the loan amount offered to you might exceed the amount of money you really need to cover your expenses. To keep your debt low, determine your budget and only borrow what you need to live on. Also, explore options like work study programs through your school or other job opportunities that can help defray college costs.
  1. Consider responsible gap financing. If after considering your savings, scholarships, and grants, you still come up short, a private student loan can help to fill the gap. Members CU has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer our members the Smart Option Student Loan®. To encourage responsible borrowing, Smart Option Student Loans must be certified by the school’s financial aid office to help ensure students borrow no more than their cost of attendance less other financial aid received. With competitive variable and fixed interest rates, choice of deferred and in-school repayment options, and no origination fee or prepayment penalties, the Smart Option Student Loan is a responsible way to fund your education.For more information or to apply, visit Sallie Mae Online or call 1-877-279-7172.

Members CU is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers. This information is for borrowers attending degree-granting institutions only. Applications are subject to a requested minimum loan amount of $1,000. Current credit and other eligibility criteria apply.
MKT11790 05/16

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