Most important about private loans. Getting the student loans necessary to finance your education can seem like an incredibly daunting task. You have also probably heard horror stories from those whose student debt has resulted in near poverty during the post-graduation period. But, by spending some time learning about the process, you can spare yourself the agony and make smart borrowing decisions.
Know all of your loan’s details. Make sure you know how much you owe and how to contact your lender. You also want to know what your repayment status is. These details affect your repayment options. It is your responsibility to add this information into your budget plans.
Don’t neglect private financing for college. Because public loans are so widely available, there’s a lot of competition. Private student loans reside in a different category. Often, some of the money is never claimed because students don’t know about it. Loans such as these may be available locally and at a minimum can help cover the cost of books during a semester.
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.
PLUS loans are available if you are a graduate student or the parent of one. The interest rate is no greater than 8.5%. While it may be more than other loans, it is cheaper than you will get through a private lender. For this reason, this is a good loan option for more mature and established students.
Consider a private loan if financial aid won’t cover the costs of school. Be careful not to jump at the first offer. Do some research to find solid terms with a great interest rate before signing anything.
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.
You may feel intimidated by the prospect of arranging the student loans you need for your schooling to be possible. However, you must not let the bad experiences of others cloud your ability to move forward. By educating yourself about the various types of student loans available, you will be able to make sound choices that will serve you well for the coming years.