Student loans not the only form of help

By Anna Yee

August 1, 2013 Updated Aug 1, 2013 at 10:18 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, DC -- It will likely be back to business as usual for students and families applying for college loans.

On Wednesday, Congress voted to lower the interest rate on Stafford loans after they nearly doubled last month.

President Obama is expected to make the new 3.8% rate official as soon as he signs the bill, helping students save thousands of dollars in interest when paying back loans.

That applies to students across the spectrum at colleges, universities, and community colleges.

But, David Pardieck, Bradley University's director of financial assistance, says affording school is still a constant concern among families.

He says they should take advantage of every opportunity for help, and it starts by simply asking, "How?"

"I don't know if I'd characterize it as naivety as much as not a full knowledge of the resources that exist on college campuses," said Pardieck, "and every school has professionals who are there to work with families at the early stages through graduation to focus on student success."

Pardieck adds that college students should file financial aid applications as soon as they become available, otherwise you could miss the deadline.

And if you're still planning to apply for student loans, the lowered rate is expected to be in place for this upcoming academic year.