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Family loans: The new way to pay for tuition?

Written by ecannon - 8 Comments

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This article, written by Alexa Pugh, comes to us from our partners at LearnVest.

Instead of asking your family for another sweater for your birthday, how about a low-interest student loan?

Family loan pools—trust funds from which relatives going to school can draw low-interest loans—have become an increasingly popular way for people to help their kin ease the cost of education, Reuters reports.

Unlike family banks, which can make certain investments and give grants, family loan pools are set up specifically for supporting education. For tax reasons, lawyers recommend charging interest at the applicable federal rate—around 1.2 percent for 3- to 9-year loans—but rates afforded by family loan pools can be significantly lower than those for private or even federal options.

On July 1st, the government doubled the interest rate on subsidized student loans to 6.8 percent.

The funds start with several thousand dollars in seed money, and then take contributions from relatives to grow the pool. Trustees from the family are appointed to select loan recipients, who can later donate money to the fund once they’ve repaid their debt and have the means to help support a new generation of students.

A fund started 50 years ago by the family of Illinois lawyer George Lewis has cultivated $111,000, which now gets lent out to college-bound relatives at no interest.

But families should also take care to outline policies for taking out a loan as to avoid future debate—arguments over repayment or defaulting on a loan could cast a serious cloud over the next family reunion.

Additional articles from LearnVest:

The all-in-the-family lending trend

Student loan rates have doubled … Now what?!

Can paying for college actually hurt our kids?

Published on August 2nd, 2013 - 8 Comments
Filed under: Education,Family & Life

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Insightful information on student tuition funding.

    Comment by Anonymous — Aug 2nd 2013 @ 4:42 pm
  2. I don’t think I could do a family loan for school. That’s way too close for comfort – either as the lender or borrower.


    Comment by Anonymous — Aug 3rd 2013 @ 2:57 pm
  3. It sounds like an awesome idea given the soaring levels of student debt and the rising costs of education. Ofcourse, as a family you’ll have to work out the emotions that come with money and establish policies to bring some “professionalism” and “order” into the fund.

    Comment by Anonymous — Aug 5th 2013 @ 1:08 pm
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