If you can't afford mortgage, don't borrow to send kid to college


When I can't think of anything else to write about, I sometimes like to pick up a copy of US News & World Report's America's Best Colleges, and spend about 30 seconds flipping through to find one piece of really, really, really horrible advice.

And so here it is, from an article by Kim Clark:

The federally backed parent PLUS loan can cover the student's entire cost of college (less any other financial aid). But PLUS loans can cost as much as 8.5 percent a year plus a fee of 4 percent of the loan amount, for a total annual percentage rate of as much as 9.4 percent. Shoppers can find discounts, however. Those who borrow directly from the federal government and make automatic electronic payments are charged just 7.65 percent in interest. (After fees, the APR totals 8.55 percent.) And the eligibility criteria are comparatively forgiving, even for parents who are a little behind on their mortgages.