How much money should a family borrow for college?

<< Articles
How much money should a family borrow for college?

There is no magic formula to determine how much you or your child should borrow for college. But there is such a thing as borrowing too much. How much is too much? One guideline is for students to borrow no more than their expected first-year starting salary after college, which, in turn, depends on a student's particular major and/or job prospects.

But this guideline is simply that — a guideline. Just as many homeowners got burned in the housing crisis by taking out larger mortgages than they could afford, families can get burned by borrowing amounts for college that seemed reasonable at the time but now, in hindsight, are not.

Keep in mind that student loans will need to be paid back over a term of 10 years (possibly longer). A lot can happen during that time. What if a student's assumptions about future earnings don't pan out? Will student loans still be manageable when other expenses like rent, utilities, and/or car expenses come into play? What if a borrower steps out of the workforce for an extended period of time to care for children and isn't earning an income? There are many variables, and every student's situation is different. A loan deferment is available in certain situations, but postponing loan payments only kicks the can down the road.

To build in room for the unexpected, a smarter strategy may be for undergraduate students to borrow no more than the federal student loan limit, which is currently $27,000 for four years of college. Over a 10-year term with a 5.05% interest rate (the current 2018-2019 rate on federal Direct Loans), this equals a monthly payment of $287. If a student borrows more by adding in co-signed private loans, the monthly payment will jump, for example, to $425 for $40,000 in loans (at the same interest rate) and to $638 for $60,000 in loans. Before borrowing any amount, students should know exactly what their monthly payment will be. And remember: Only federal student loans offer income-based repayment (IBR) options.

As for parents, there is no one-size-fits-all rule on how much to borrow. Many factors come into play, including the number of children in the family, total household income and assets, and current and projected retirement savings. The overall goal, though, is to borrow as little as possible.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

© 2019 by Broadridge Investor Communications Solutions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The opinions expressed herein reflect the judgment of the author(s) at this date, are subject to change without notice, and are not a complete analysis of any sector, industry, or security. The content provided herein does not constitute advice or a recommendation or offer to sell or a solicitation to deal in any security or financial product. It is provided for information purposes only and on the understanding that the recipient has sufficient knowledge and experience to be able to understand and make their own evaluation of the proposals and services described herein, any risks associated therewith and any related legal, tax, accounting or other material considerations. Recipients should not rely on this material in making any future investment decision. To the extent that the reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to their specific portfolio or situation, you are encouraged to consult with a qualified lawyer, accountant, or financial professional.

Securities, insurance, and advisory services offered through BOK Financial Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and an SEC registered investment adviser. Services may be offered under our trade name, BOK Financial Advisors. Investment and insurance products are: NOT FDIC INSURED | NO BANK GUARANTEE | MAY LOSE VALUE

Read More

BOK Financial Corporation (BOKF) offers wealth management and trust services through various affiliate companies and non-bank subsidiaries including advisory services offered by BOKF, NA and its subsidiaries BOK Financial Asset Management, Inc. and Cavanal Hill Investment Management, Inc. each an SEC registered investment adviser. BOKF offers additional investment services and products through its subsidiary BOK Financial Securities, Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC, and an SEC registered investment adviser and BOK Financial Private Wealth, Inc., also an SEC registered investment adviser.

Check the background of this firm on: FINRA's BrokerCheck

Investments and insurance are not insured by the FDIC; are not deposits or other obligations of, and are not guaranteed by, any bank or bank affiliate. All investments are subject to risks, including possible loss of principal. The content on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. Always consult with a qualified financial professional, accountant or lawyer for legal, tax and investment advice. NOT FDIC INSURED | NO BANK GUARANTEE | MAY LOSE VALUE

PRIVACY & SECURITY – Legal Disclosures | Money Market Fund Disclosures | Privacy Policy