EAR HARRY: We are the plain Bills and Janes about whom you often read. Neither of us was able to go to college, but we worked hard and long all our lives. We have two great kids. The oldest is a freshman in a top-tier college. We had to borrow under the federal loan program to get his first tuition fully paid.

Regardless of whether he or we borrow the money for all his years, we will pay the loans back. We don't want him to start with a burden. Our youngest will be ready for college in four years, so we won't have two in college at the same time. We will do the same for him.

Today, we got wind of legal methods to make that repayment easier. Is this possible?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Repayments can be structured to dovetail with postgrad earnings. This can lead to a repayment schedule of as long as 25 years.

If he works in a full-time public-service job, it's possible for him to get total or partial forgiveness. For example, teachers can get up to $17,500 forgiven. If he joins the armed services, he can get full forgiveness. In cases of death, disability or some other catastrophic events, a discharge is available.

Many schools are working toward a loan-free program of tuition where aid is in the form of grants, not loans. This could help in later years, especially for your younger child. Wish him the best from his "Uncle" Harry!

Email Harry Gross at harrygrossDN@gmail.com, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.