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MMI suggests finance options for obtaining a higher education

According to a recent report released by the U.S. Secretary of Education, student loan default rates are up a staggering 7 percent, up from the 2007 default rate of 6.7 percent. The default rates for student borrowers are considerably higher for those who attended public schools than those who attended private ones. Due to a lackluster economic turnaround and high unemployment, it’s no surprise that student borrowers are struggling to make loan payments.

To find solutions for managing the cost of a higher education, consider the following advice from the financial experts at Money Management International (MMI):

Look for scholarships. Scholarships are the best way to pay for school; it’s free money that doesn’t require repayment. There are several online sources to help students find great scholarships, such as FastWeb, FinAid, and the Financial Aid Resource Center.

Apply for federal grants. Obtaining a grant is another way to pay for college with free money. To secure federal grants fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Also, check out the Academic Competitiveness Grant or the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent or SMART grant.

Choose the right school. Sometimes affording tuition is as easy as choosing a school that fits your family’s budget. It is cheaper to go to school in-state vs. out-of-state. Also consider a public funded school over a private school. Students can find a college cost comparison tool and apply for financial aid at

Finally, consider an alternative program. “There are other programs that are just as rewarding, but cost significantly less than a university program,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy for MMI. “For example, instead of a four year nursing degree that could cost up to $40,000, consider a certification program in respiratory therapy at a community college for only $27,300.”

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit

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