Although the cost of tuition is up an average of 13 percent this year, many college students are having trouble getting financial help from a once-dependable sources -- low-interest, government-guaranteed loans.
Loans are harder to get and are not the bargain they once were. Interest on the National Direct Student Loans is up from 4 percent to 5 percent for students and from 9 percent to 14 percent for parents. The Guaranteed Student Loan program's interest rate is 9 percent, but lenders now collect a 5 percent "origination" fee on the loans. The program now requires a need test for students whose adjusted family income is over $30,000.