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There’s a Latino education paradox that some researchers are having a hard time understanding. While many Latino parents in the U.S. are optimistic about their children’s educational future, they are reluctant for their children to take out educational loans.

This seeming contradiction was brought to light by a MassMutual study that found Latino parents rate student college loans as the ninth option of financing their children’s college education.

Obtaining scholarships or federal student aid, using savings from parents, and starting college with a less expensive two-year degree topped the list. Borrowing funds from a retirement account, using a 529 plan, and ensuring a student worked a part-time job or completed a work-study program were all deemed by respondents as more favorable than student loans.

That same study found that Latinos were most optimistic because of their strong awareness of the various methods that can be used to pay for college.

The truth is that there is no contradiction.

The list of options for education financing illustrates a Latino trait:  resourcefulness. Latinos make things happen by making use of whatever is in front of them at the moment. From this perspective, a loan encumbers a student’s future — the loan is the paradox.

This is why it’s important for parents to be aware of requirements that could have an effect on their child’s financial options for college, especially their ability to receive a federal Pell Grant.

It’s the law.

There’s a law that says citizen and immigrant men regardless of race, religion, ability, or residency status must register with the Selective Service System when they turn 18.

If they fail to do so by their 26th birthday, they can:

  • Lose eligibility for an educational Pell Grant, even many state grants.
  • Lose eligibility for many federal and state government jobs.
  • Experience significant delays in the immigration process.

It’s important for parents who want their children to avoid student loans – their sons must register with the U.S. Selective Service.

And one thing should be made clear.

The Selective Service System does not ask for a registrant’s immigration or resident status and there is no effort to identify undocumented immigrants and provide reports to other government agencies. Young men living in the U.S. are required by law to register regardless of their immigration status.

It’s a responsibility that few 18 year-old men – Latino or not, citizen or not – consider as they transition into adult life.

If you know a young man who has turned 18 or is about to, make sure to remind him to register with Selective Service – and what’s at stake if he doesn’t.

Registration is easy and only takes a few minutes. Men must simply visit the Selective Service homepage at SSS.gov and click on the button that says “Register.” On the next page, there’s a form with a few simple questions including name, address, birth date, and social security number. If a man doesn’t know his social security number or doesn’t have one, the paper registration form does not require a social security number and can be printed from the website or picked up at most U.S. Post Offices.

Filling out the form will take very little time, but it will ensure that a young man’s education plans will not be a burden on their future.

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