PHEAA Launches MySmartBorrowing Planning Tool

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Online resource helps students and parents make smart borrowing decisions; ensuring manageable debt after graduation

Harrisburg, PA (September 17, 2013)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) announced the launch of its newest college-planning resource, MySmartBorrowing. The uniquely-interactive online tool helps users to easily understand the long-term implications of personal and financial choices that are necessary for a student's higher education success plan.

MySmartBorrowing includes estimators that assist users in identifying their possible cost of a higher education at different schools, future salary expectations for a particular degree, availability of related employment opportunities, and their potential ability to repay student loans comfortably while also affording an independent lifestyle after graduation.

MySmartBorrowing helps students and families make informed decisions throughout the higher education planning process from the earliest stages, assisting them in avoiding difficult or unmanageable debt after graduation.

"Students and parents should carefully consider each of the many decision points along the way toward a higher education," said Representative William F. Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "In addition to understanding a student's best financial aid options, some of the smallest decisions can have a significant impact over the long-term. MySmartBorrowing helps families to easily identify and evaluate each of those decisions."

When planning for how to pay for higher education, students should exhaust all eligibility for gift aid before taking out a student loan. Unlike a student loan, gift aid, which includes scholarship and grant programs, does not need to be repaid.

Students should only borrow money if it is absolutely necessary and they should only borrow what they can afford to repay. It is also important to understand the different types of student loans that are available, each with different advantages and disadvantages during repayment.

"Borrowing wisely can be the key to graduating college with a healthy and manageable financial footing that can last a lifetime", Senator Wayne D. Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "MySmartBorrowing is a powerful planning tool that helps users focus on the most important factors of what could otherwise be a complicated process. It makes it easy and simple."

MySmartBorrowing is the latest enhancement to PHEAA's award-winning college-planning website, EducationPlanner.org. Additionally, MySmartBorrowing can be quickly accessed directly at MySmartBorrowing.org.

For information on the higher education financial aid process, schedules for upcoming Financial Aid Nights and FAFSA® Completion Sessions, reminders of financial aid deadlines, and video clips offering tips and information pertaining to planning for higher education, students can join PHEAA on Facebook at Facebook.com/pheaa.aid.