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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Kids and Money: Tips to avoid being online scammed
News from Bradenton Herald:

You may have trained your kids to protect what’s in their wallet and what’s on their computer, but that won’t stop scam artists from trying new ways to trick them.

One of the latest is called the Microsoft scam.

I hadn’t heard of it until earlier this summer when I took a phone call from someone who didn’t speak English very well, but claimed to be a technician from Microsoft.

I normally hang up when I get these types of calls, especially when I hear I’ve won a prize.

But in this case, I listened more intently as the caller said he wanted to help fix a virus on our home computer. It made me wary when he asked if my computer was on so he could walk me through the fix.

I asked him again who he was with and how he had gotten my phone number, but all I got from the imposter was another pitch to fix my computer.

I hung up, figuring the “tech specialist” would get to the part about giving him money or personal information to correct the computer problem.

Microsoft is very familiar with this hoax. In fact, a question-and-answer section on its website includes a lengthy discussion about scams that use the company’s name. Besides the “tech support” fraud, here are other spins on the scam:

-You have won the Microsoft Lottery.

-Microsoft “requires” credit card information to validate your copy of Windows.

-Micr…………… continues on Bradenton Herald

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