Why You Should Never Cosign a Student Loan

And How to Save Yourself If You've Already Done It

Parent, I urge you: DO NOT cosign a student loan for your child.

Today I’m featuring information from an article by nationally syndicated radio host and author Clark Howard. I consider this to be must-read info for every parent. After you read below, you can find articles by Clark Howard, listen to his radio show, view his videos, and sign up to receive his money-saving advice right in your email inbox at ClarkHoward.com.

Are you considering cosigning a loan for an adult child who needs a car, a student loan, or a credit card?

Here are 6 deeply concerning things you need to be aware of before you pick up that pen.

cosign a student loan

1. If you cosign a student loan, you may unwittingly strain future family relationships.

Nobody likes to think about this, but there’s an almost four in 10 chance that when you cosign a student loan, you will be the one who has to pay off the balance. A CreditCards.com survey found that of the cosigners they surveyed, 38 percent had to pay some or all of the loan balance or credit card bill because the primary borrower did not, 28 percent experienced a drop in their credit score because the person they chose to cosign for paid late or not at all, and 26 percent said the cosigning experience damaged their relationship with the person they cosigned for.

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LinkedIn.com Increases Its Minimum Age to 16

This Calls for A Change In Strategy for Families Who Follow Me

On June 7th, 2017, LinkedIn.com changed its user agreement, increasing the minimum age for opening a LinkedIn account from 14 to 16. “Existing members who happen to be under 16,” LinkedIn says, “will be allowed to remain members and use our services.”

This minimum age change means a change in strategy for families who follow me.

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Your Job Change COULD Save Your Kid $40,000 on College Costs

Parent, might you be ready for a job change by the end of this summer?

If you make this job change decision strategically, you could save your kid $40,000 on college costs.

job change

“Really? How could my job change save my kids money on college costs?”

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9 Reasons to Talk your Kid OUT of Applying to the Ivy League

Today I’m re-running an article I previously wrote on the subject of Ivy League admission. The reason? Harvard University has made a surprising, disheartening decision that significantly impacts its students’ ability to save money on the education it provides. You’ll read about the Harvard decision–and what you can do about it– in the red text below.

Ivy League

Parents, you feel a lot of pressure to get your kids into a “good” college after high school. An “Ivy League” university would be ideal! But is all the work and stress really worth it?

Probably not, honestly.

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Which Colleges Are Still Taking Applications?

5 Cautions For You If Your Child is Headed to College in 1-3 Months

Ben and his parents sat up late at their dining room table, combing through all of Ben’s college financial aid numbers one more time. Ben’s dad ran his fingers nervously through his hair. The problem? It was already summer, and every college that had accepted Ben for the coming fall was requiring him to commit to loads of student loan debt in order to attend.

Colleges are still taking applications

“Is it too late to just try to go to a different college?” Ben asked. “I don’t know,” Ben’s dad said. “Are there any other colleges still taking applications?”

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More Cheerful Chores * Fewer Screens * More Fun

5 Ways Parents Can Have a More Fun, More Relaxing Summer

I post this article on the use of screens during summer every June, right when school’s out and parents need it most. Here’s to a fun, relaxing summer for your whole family!

screens

Carol kicked off her work shoes and put them away in the front hall closet. “Hi, kids; I’m home!” She called out.

It’d been an extremely long work day for Carol, and the commute home had been long and sweaty due to heavy road construction and her car air conditioning being out. All she wanted to do was get her shoes off and collapse.

When she walked into the kitchen, though, she gasped.

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Whoa! Slow Down on Applying for Scholarships!

I recently read an article by a well-meaning man pushing kids to apply for more college scholarships.

“Give up all your free time!” he said. “Come home every day and put in an hour or two applying for scholarships!”

This sounds good in theory, but in reality–no kid on earth is going to do that.

My advice to students is very different.

scholarships

“Make a workable, strategic plan,” I tell students. “Apply for only ten (10) scholarships each year, starting in 8th grade and continuing all the way through grad school.”

Why do I limit scholarship applications in this way?

1. Ten scholarships in 12 months is doable. A kid thinks, “I can knock out 10 scholarships in June and be done for 11 months.” The feeling of being done is a great feeling.

2. The feeling of never being done, of never having done enough–of trying to move a mountain with a teaspoon–is energy draining and exhausting. It makes kids want to avoid applying for scholarships altogether.

3. Many kids will realize, all on their own, that filling out scholarship applications is not that difficult. Once the 10th one has been filed, many students will keep going–applying for even more.  If they don’t though, that’s OK. They can be done.

4. Kids quickly do the math. “If I apply for 10 scholarships every year starting in 8th grade and going all the way through grad school, that could be 80 scholarship applications in total. A huge accomplishment! And really, not that difficult.

(Do you think there are no scholarships for 8th graders? Just google “scholarships for 8th graders.” The money younger students win will be held for them until they need it.)

5. If your child is already in high school or already in college and just now thinking about applying for scholarships, that’s OK. As long as a student has some college or grad school left, it’s never too late to start applying for 10 scholarships a year.

For further help, read these posts I’ve written on finding and applying for scholarships. There’s a ton of good information here:

Looking for Scholarships? Here are 1.5 Million of Them

Top 10 Ways to Help Your Kid Rake In More College Scholarships

Hilarious Idea Makes Kids Eager to Apply For Scholarships

 Parents, be sure you know every way possible to keep college costs down without getting scholarships.

Getting scholarships is a relatively small part of the picture when it comes to getting kids through college debt-free. There are many, many other strategies that parents can use that can end up being easier and more effective — even if they can’t save up a penny.

Learn about all the debt-free college strategies that have nothing to do with scholarships in this book:

You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:

bit.ly/burlowski

(Tell your friends.)

(You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.)

Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

Do you have friends who are parenting kids ages 12 – 24? SHARE this post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn right now.

What about you? What are your favorite places to look for college scholarships? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. She also helps students apply to medical school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.

Best Grad Gift Ever! A Book by Meg Jay

Perfect for Both High School and College Graduates

If you’re looking for a high school or college graduation gift, here’s the one I most want students to receive.

It’s the book The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay.

definingdecade

Sure, a lot of 20 somethings read this book after graduating from college. But I say: Why wait? If your kid’s a high school senior, order this book right now and give your son or daughter a huge head start on building a happy, fulfilled life.

Believe me — this book can be a game changer for any student in their late teens or 20’s.

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Why Your Kid Shouldn’t Take a Car to College

One of the best money-saving ideas I suggest for college students is, “Don’t take a car to college.”

Most college campuses provide easy access to safe public transportation, and when a student really needs a car she can always call Uber. (Anyone, anywhere, can use this promo code to get $20 off of their first Uber ride: jeannieb105ue.)

Worried about your daughter’s safety on campus?

She may be safer walking with a campus security escort than trying to locate her car in a dark parking lot.

Students who don’t take cars to college save big.

They save thousands on gas, oil, parking fees, insurance, and auto maintenance over four years, plus they greatly decrease their potential for being in auto accidents or getting career-crippling D.U.I.s.

But what do students without cars do when they need to shop?

Nobody wants to lug four large Target bags back to the dorm room on the bus.

Fortunately, students can order almost everything they need on Amazon.com, and get their purchases shipped to them for free in two days using Amazon Prime Student. The best news? College students pay only half what I do for Amazon Prime. Plus they get a 6-month free trial when they sign up. Join Prime Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students now, or read on.

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What Should Students Eat Before Testing?

If you’re about to take the SAT or the ACT, or a final for a class, or the LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, or GRE exam–and you just want fast advice on what to eat before testing, zoom to the bolded type below, now.

It was my happiest phone call of the day. “Guess what!?!” said the excited voice on the other end of the line. “I did it! I got my scores back–and I got a 514 on the MCAT! The 91st percentile! Better than 91% of the population! I am ecstatic!”

“Whoo hoo!” I almost shouted. “I knew you could do it! I’m not surprised one bit!”

This happy phone call was a far cry from the call this same girl and I had had the previous April, when she’d contacted me in tears to ask for my professional help with her med school application. On that day she’d told me in a quavering voice that even though she’d done the best, most thorough MCAT prep she could and had scored high on multiple practice tests, she’d pretty much bombed the actual MCAT exam. “Now I’ll have to pay a ton of money to take another MCAT class,” she said, trying not to cry. “It’ll take me months to prep for the MCAT all over again. My med school application won’t be in until late–”

“Hold on,” I said.

“What did you eat before testing?”

eat before testing

“Eat?” she’d said, bewildered.

“Yes,” I said. “What did you eat that day? Do you remember?”

“Well,” she said, “I don’t usually eat breakfast–but I think I had a plain bagel, and some orange juice. Why?”

Over the next 30 minutes I explained to her how what she ate and what she didn’t eat before testing likely affected her testing experience. I suggested that she sign up to take the MCAT again, as soon as possible, with only minimal additional prep, and simply eat better on the morning of the test and during the breaks. The result? The overjoyed phone call you read about above.

What to eat before testing

In the 23 years I’ve been doing med school admissions consulting at GetIntoMedSchool.com, I’ve had this same discussion with hundreds of pre-med students.

Here’s the nutrition advice that has proven to be a game-changer for every one of them.

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