If you’re making plans for college while still in high school, or are thinking about returning to college in your later adult years, figuring out how you’re going to pay for you education can be really tough. That’s where SimpleTuition.com can help.
The greatest benefit this site offers is that it saves you tons of time. There is no need to hunt around trying to figure out where you can get loans to finance your education. Instead, you provide some basic information, and SimpleTuition.com points you to the best resource(s) for your goals. The information includes the name of the loan provider, the total cost you’ll pay for the loan, the monthly payment, the due date of the first payment, the total number of payments, and the interest rate. You select the ones you want to compare and review the results.
The home page includes a feature called, “Simple Tuition’s Tuition Coach.” When selected, you’re redirected to a different site. It includes a Personal Parent Advisor, free College Planning Calendar, Financial Aid Webinars, and College Advisor Corner. However, their focus is a five-step plan on how to pay for college. Tuition Coach is free as compared to a Financial Consultant who could charge as much as $1,000 for the information (according to their comparison chart).
- If you choose to bypass the “Find Student Loans” option, there is a list of Featured Lenders to whom you can apply direct with just a click of a button.
- The site offers a variety of guides both in written and video form. They include a section called Plan, Pay, and Pay Back, each of which contain their own subsections such as Understanding College Costs (Plan), Scholarships and Grants (Pay), and Student Loan Consolidation (Pay Back).
- The Student Loan Glossary contains a detailed listing of terms and their definitions to help you navigate the tuition world much easier.
- The Student Loan FAQs offers two categories to get you started: the type of Borrower (e.g., Undergraduate, Graduate/Professional Students, or Parents of Undergraduates) and the type of Loan (e.g., Private, Federal, Stafford, etc.). There is also a basic list of FAQs.
A Few Gotchas
With that said, there are a few problems with the site and how it works.
- First, and probably the biggest surprise is that if your school is NOT a school for which they provide loans, you are dumped onto a page that pushes other schools – such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, etc.
- Second, once you enter your school, if you attempt to apply for loans through any of the featured loan providers, it remembers that school you entered and takes you to a “Sorry…” page.
The two factors are a huge obstacle because there really is no way to get around them within the site. In fact, you have to close your browser, and reenter the site.
There is another section of information that really isn’t clear. When you compare loans, the results are somewhat confusing. They show a low/high percentage rate – and this can range from 3.25% to 11.5% - which is a huge differentiating factor. They try to explain this APR, but it can be very confusing to the non-financial layperson.
If you are planning to attend a major university, this site can be very helpful. However, if your choice of educational institutes isn’t listed, you’ll be back to square one.