SUNY Cortland has a payment plan that allows you to spread out your semester bill across four monthly installments. Families can use this short-term payment option to pay an affordable amount each month while financing the remainder with a long-term option such as the Federal Parent PLUS loan. Your advisor in the Financial Aid Office can help you calculate a plan that is right for you and your family.
For more information concerning the SUNY Cortland Monthly Payment Plan, contact the Student Accounts Office.
Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit are popular borrowing options that provide great flexibility and possible tax deductibility for the interest. Unlike education loans, these funds are not restricted to college costs. Many parents prefer to keep all of their educational and non-educational borrowing together in a single loan — and single payment — tied to their home equity. The interest rates on home equity loans are generally comparable to those of a private educational loan — see above. Your local lending institution can provide you with more information.
Many retirement plans allow investors to borrow against their retirement savings. Using such an option to finance your son’s or daughter’s education can be a complicated decision. Many families may also have other investments or savings that could be used to finance college.
If these funds were saved or invested specifically for education, such as in a 529 plan or Coverdell IRA, then you may want to have a discussion with your advisor about how to make the money last for four, or more, years. However, if the funds were saved for retirement, using them or borrowing against them could significantly reduce your income in retirement.
Remember that there can be tax penalties for early withdrawal of retirement funds, while interest on the PLUS loans is often tax deductible. It may be wise to consult with a professional financial planner or tax advisor prior to making the decision to use your retirement savings to pay for your son’s or daughter’s college education.
Many students/parents make Cortland Monthly Payment Plan payments with a credit card because of the convenience, such as paying online and taking advantage of incentive programs. Credit cards also are useful for making purchases at the college bookstore or for covering other educational expenses.
However, credit cards should not be used to finance college expenses over the long term. If you are carrying educational costs on your credit card from month-to-month, there are almost certainly better options. We suggest speaking with your advisor in the Financial Aid Office about using credit cards before your credit card debt becomes a costly problem.