Home equity is a type of loan or line of credit where a person borrows a loan from a bank that is based upon the value of their property vs. debt owed on the property. Typically the home value is determined by an appraiser from the lending institution. The difference between home value and any existing debt owed on the mortgage is potentially accessible as a loan secured by the property. Sometimes this is referred to as a second mortgage. Families that have seen significant increase in property values may consider home equity loans in order to borrow funds to pay for their kids education. Rates vary based on credit strength but may competitive to private parent loans and potentially better than Federal Parent PLUS loans. However, some financial advisors counsel against using an asset such as the home to pay for education.