Report Finds Scholarships, Grants Are Largest Source for Family College Spending

When asked if parents reflected worry over the increase in federal student loan interest rates, Ducich said parents are focused on the overall cost, and not just rates.

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But while students and families are not obligated to pay back federal student loans until after they leave school, Ducich encourages families to begin paying back while students are in school if they can.

Twenty-two percent of families report they are paying student loans while they are in school to reduce the cost, according to the Sallie Mae survey.

The biggest amounts of borrowing occur in unsubsidized Stafford student loans and Graduate PLUS federal student aid, Ducich said.

"When you defer your payments in school, all you are doing is borrowing more," she said. "Paying early to reduce cost of borrowing is a really good strategy."

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