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      Alternative ways to pay for college

      An image of a Home Equity Line of Credit Request application

      If you know someone heading off to college this fall, chances are they secured some type of financial aid to pay for school.

      However, some students will miss out on this fall's semester because they didn't qualify for any type of aid.

      Brandon Carl was fortunate to receive a scholarship for college.

      Carl is a freshman at John Wood Community College in Quincy.

      He believes you can't put a price tag on the value of an education.

      "I feel like as far as like, getting a job especially with the unemployment rates there are, it's just very, very important," Carl said.

      He eventually wants to transfer to a university but doesn't want to rack up a substantial amount of debt.

      "I am prepared to take out loans, and I definitely have been thinking about that," Carl said.

      There are other choices students like Carl could use to pay for school, such as applying for a personalized loan through his local bank.

      "The unsecured financing we do offer, but again the borrower does have to qualify. The interest rates are typically higher and the loan amounts are limited, Shelley Miller, the Senior Vice President of Mortgage Loans at Mercantile Bank, said.

      Miller said Carl's best option would be to ask his parents to apply for a home equity loan.

      "The interest rates are significant lower than a personal loan," Miller said.

      Miller said it could even save his parents big bucks in the long run.

      "There are tax advantages. Mortgage interest can be deducted, reducing your tax liability," Miller said.

      So we're looking at 15-year national average today, is at 3.21 percent, Miller said. Thirty year national average is at 4.24 percent. So again customers are taking advantage of the lower interest rate environment."

      When he transfers, Carl plans to talk with his parents about applying for home equity loan to pay for school.

      He feels it could be the perfect way to afford his college education.

      It can take between two to four weeks to apply and receive a Home Equity Loan.

      If you're considering this option to pay for school, you still might have time to apply for it.