Strange New Ways To Pay For College

07/31/2012 08:13 am ET | Updated Sep 30, 2012

College-tuition bills at most schools are due in August, and parents are likely to borrow even more this year than last.

But parents might not borrow the way their parents did -- or even like their neighbors just a few years ago.

Federal student loans have long been the option preferred by most borrowers. But annual interest rates on many of these government loans range from 5% to 7.9% at a time when mortgages are going for around 3.5% or less.

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