Best Deals on College Student Loans

Decide how much debt is reasonable, and stick with the federal loan programs.

Your first step in keeping college costs under control is to make some hard decisions about the type of school your family can afford. If you and your children are going to rely on loans to pay part of the cost, your next step is to decide how much debt is reasonable.

Set a limit that's realistic. As a benchmark, the average student-loan debt among graduating seniors is just over $19,000. One financial-aid officer says it's reasonable if a student graduates owing less than $25,000. That's roughly the cost of one year's tuition at this official's private college.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.