Student Loan Resources
Student loans has topped 1 trillion dollars. There's a lot of funding out there if you know where to look and how to qualify. Before you start searching for what is a student loan you should check to see if you qualify for free money (scholarships and grants). If not, then a fixed interest rate loan from the government should be your goal -- then, if you still need more, supplement it with a private loan.
It's extremely important to pay your loans back as it will affect your credit for years to come. If gone unpaid, your student loans can be referred to a collection agency that can attach your wages and even your tax returns. If you get in a position where you cant pay your student loans be sure to talk with your lender because there may be programs out there to help you like consolidation, rehabilitation and structured repayment plans.
Student loans are available from both private lenders and federal lenders. Depending on your needs, you may decide that a federal student loan works better for you than a private lender student loan. Where to get a student loan can be really confusing, especially if you're just starting to research your options.
There's a lot to take into consideration. Every student loan has to be paid back, unlike scholarships which do not have to be repaid. If you dont qualify for a scholarship or grant then chances are you will need student loans to pay for your education. It's a good idea to talk to a counselor at your school if you're finding the whole process overwhelming. A student loan counselor can help you cut through the confusion and point you in the right direction - whether it be federal or personal loans.
Most importantly, you want to have all the facts before you take out any student loan. Because of the rules that regulate federal student loans, you dont want to enter into one blind and find out later that you can't afford it or thought you wouldn't have to pay it all back.
A lot of students misunderstand how the loans work and some believe they can just stop paying them later if they fall on hard times, but a federal student loan is not like a credit card. It's secured by your ability to earn a living and because of that the federal government will look to you to repay that loan for years to come.
Federal Student Loans
Federal student loans are backed by the government and because of this, they have different rules than a private student loan. Federal student loans cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy but they also have a lot of repayment options including consolidation, rehabilitation and repayment plans if you fall behind.
Federal student loans have fixed interest rates and Stafford loans and Perkins Loans are not based on your credit. FAFSA is a student aid program that can help you see if you qualify for free aid.
- Direct Loans: These student loans offer a variety of options depending on your qualifications.
- FinAid: Information on the types of federal loans and programs available including interest rates and fees.
- Fafsa: Federal student aid
- StudentAid: Information from the U.S. Department of Education for funding
- StudentLoans.Gov: From the DOE to manage your student loans
- Federal Stafford Loans: Fixed rate interest loans
- SallieMae: Federal Student Loans with many options
Private Student Loans
Private student loans are available from a wide variety of lenders from Discover Bank to Chase Bank. Private student loans are easier to process because you don't have all the government red tape but you still need to be diligent about choosing a program that you can afford. It's important to think long term so you can manage your student loan payments into the future and after school.
Private student loans have various interest rates but they can help fill the gap where a federal student loan isn't enough. You do have to qualify based on your credit or your cosigners credit. Many student have a combination of Federal and Private Student Loans.
- Wells Fargo Student Loans: Allows you to make no payments while you're in school. Your payments begin 6 months after you graduate.
- Chase Student Loans: Check the current interest rates and apply online.
- Simple Tuition: Search and compare lenders, apply online
- SallieMae Private Loans: Flexible terms, competitive rates.
- Citi: buy books and supplies, school related expenses or where federal loans fall short.
- Discover Student Loans: Can cover up to 100% of your education costs.
Student Loan Resources
- Forgive My Student Loan: A facebook community on all things related to repayment of your student loans and student loan forgiveness.
- Default Student Loan the Movie: A facebook community that aims at bringing awareness to the student loan default dilemma.
- Nafsa: Follow NAFSA on twitter for the latest on student loan issues.
- Student loan default: What happens if you dont pay your student loans
- Should I consolidate or rehabilitate my defaulted student loans?
- College Finance Glossary for Students & Parents