The cost of college is quickly outpacing the rate of inflation, forcing a growing number of students to turn to student loans to help fund their higher education.
If you are considering taking out a student loan to pay for college, make the Financial Aid Finder your first stop.
Comparing Federal to Private Loans
If you have done any research into student loans, you probably figured out pretty quickly that not all student loans are created equal.
So how do you decide which type of loan is best for you?
Read our Guide to Federal vs. Private Loans so that you can be a savvy borrower. We teach you everything you want to know about interest rates, repayment terms, maximum loan amounts, and more.
If you’ve got a federal student loan, odds are it’s a Stafford.
The most common source of college loans, the Stafford comes in two varieties: Subsidized (also known as need-based) and unsubsidized (or non-need based). Learn more about the eligibility requirements, maximum loan amounts, interest rates and repayment options from our Guide to Stafford Loans.
If you are a low-income undergraduate and graduate student, you may qualify for the preferential Perkins Loan. Administered directly by participating campuses, the Perkins loan features lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options. Your school’s financial aid administrators will be responsible for determining whether you qualify for the Perkins loan — and how much you can borrow.
If your parents want to help out with college, suggest that they look into the PLUS loan. Like the Stafford and Perkins loans, the PLUS is a federally-backed loan with a fixed interest rate. Your folks can borrow up to the full cost of tuition, room and board without having to prove financial need or put up collateral against the debt. They will need a good credit score, though.
You might have thought that cramming for tests was the hardest part of college, but the biggest challenge comes once you graduate: Repaying your student loans. Read our Guide to Student Loan Repayment to make sure that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan holder.
If you are looking for ways to lower your monthly student loan repayment, you might want to look into loan consolidation. Learn the pros and cons, and how to apply from our Guide to Consolidated Student Loans.