Monday’s Personal Finance stories
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Most U.S. homeowners these days are eagerly watching home-price data to see when the value of their own investment might regain its former heights. Not so in North Dakota. As Amy Hoak writes in her Home Economics column today, 10 years ago an 1,800-square-foot home in Williston, N.D., cost about $ 80,000. Today,…………… continues on MarketWatch

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Personal Finance: Weighing student aid options
News from Philadelphia Inquirer:

You do that with college student loans, paying over 10 years. Take some time with loan options because they differ significantly.

Things used to be simpler. Federal student loans tended to be the lowest-cost, an easy choice. In the early 2000s, students could lock in interest rates below 3 percent.

But Congress changed that, and students face relatively high interest on some federal loans, even though other loans are at all-time lows.

For example, 30-year home mortgages have interest rates below 4 percent, so the 6.8 percent on some federal Stafford loans is hard to stomach. Federal PLUS loans for parents are at 7.9 percent.

It might be tempting to turn away from federal loans and choose private loans instead.

How to decide? If your income is low enough to qualify for what’s called a subsidized Stafford loan, that’s a good deal. A loan your child takes out carries just a 3.4 percent interest rate. Feel free to borrow the $ 3,500 maximum for freshmen if you qualify. See rules at www.tinyurl.com/studentloanrules.

When they finish college, graduates have 10 years to pay off the federal loans; many get extended plans.

If your child needs additional money for college, turn next to federal Perkins loans. These general…………… continues on Philadelphia Inquirer

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