There are other options to fund your education outside of scholarships and the standard student loans. In some cases you may be able to get a better interest rate than the current federal loan programs and some private lending programs.

1. Home Equity Line of Credit

If you currently own your own home it is possible to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to cover your tuition costs. Because there is collateral on this loan, namely your home, it’s possible to get a low interest rate depending on your credit. The benefit is a lower interest rate; however, this loan will go into full repayment almost immediately.

2. Borrowing Against Retirement

If you have a retirement plan that you have been contributing to it is sometimes possible to borrow against it for educational purposes. The interest rates are typically reasonable. Please consult a financial planner or applicable professional for assistance.

3. Using a 529 Savings Plan

A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. There is no age limit for this savings plan. 529 Plans can be used to meet costs of qualified colleges nationwide. In most plans, your choice of school is not affected by the state your 529 savings plan is from. You can be a NC resident, invest in a VT plan and send your student to college in CA. Check to see if your institution is eligible under the 529 rules. Almost every state has a 529 plan available.

4. Personal Loan From a Family Member or a Friend

You may have a family member or a friend that has an opportunity to help you by loaning you money directly. It is important to keep the loan as professional as you can to avoid any misunderstandings. It is recommended that you both agree and create a Master Promissory Note so everyone is clear on the terms and conditions of this loan. There are websites that can assist you in creating a Master Promissory Note. and are just a couple that were found when typing “Master Promissory Note” in a search engine.