First thing you need to know about private loans. Borrowing money for college these days seems all but inevitable for everyone but the wealthiest individuals. That is why now more than ever, it is necessary for prospective students to brush up on the subject of student loans so that they can make sound financial decisions. The material below is intended to assist with exactly that.
Do not hesitate to “shop” before taking out a student loan. Just as you would in other areas of life, shopping will help you find the best deal. Some lenders charge a ridiculous interest rate, while others are much more fair. Shop around and compare rates to get the best deal.
If you are moving or your number has changed, make sure that you give all of your information to the lender. Interest begins to accrue on your loan for every day that your payment is late. This is something that may happen if you are not receiving calls or statements each month.
Be careful when consolidating loans together. The total interest rate might not warrant the simplicity of one payment. Also, never consolidate public student loans into a private loan. You will lose very generous repayment and emergency options afforded to you by law and be at the mercy of the private contract.
A PLUS loan is a loan that can be secured by grad students as well as their parents. The highest the interest rate will go is 8.5%. This is a better rate than that of a private loan, though higher that those of Perkins or Stafford loans. Therefore, this kind of loan can be useful for students who are older.
Consider a private loan if financial aid won’t cover the costs of school. Be careful not to jump at the first offer. Shop around for the best terms and interest rate before you sign on the dotted line.
Make sure you keep track of your loans. You should know who the lender is, what the balance is, and what its repayment options are. If you are missing this information, you can contact your lender or check the NSLDL website. If you have private loans that lack records, contact your school.
Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.
Do not default on a student loan. Defaulting on government loans can result in consequences like garnished wages and tax refunds withheld. Defaulting on private loans can be a disaster for any cosigners you had. Of course, defaulting on any loan risks serious damage to your credit report, which costs you even more later.
It seems that hardly any young student nowadays can complete a degree program without incurring at least some student loan debt. However, when armed with the right type of knowledge on the topic, making smart choices about loans really can be easy. Using the tips found in the paragraphs above is a great way to start.