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Applying for student loans

Learn how to find student loan options based on your education needs.

Whether you’re an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student, there are a variety of factors to consider when choosing between student loans. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when determining which option meets your needs.

Use what you have

When it comes to financing your education, carefully consider all of your options, including: grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and private student loans. Accounting for alternative forms of financial aid will give you a better sense of how much you may need to borrow.

Understand important loan features

When researching loan options, it’s important to understand the features of two types of loans: federal student loans and private student loans.

Federal student loans are provided through the government, and the amount granted to you is determined by the information on your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Alternatively, private student loans are provided by banks or other private lenders and usually require applicants to undergo a credit check. Students with little to no credit history may use a cosigner to qualify.

Beyond the types of loans available, it’s helpful to look at the impact of the interest rate on student loans as these rates make a difference in the amount you pay during the loan term. Interest rates can be either fixed or variable – in other words, a rate may stay the same over the life of the loan or fluctuate based on market conditions. Try using a student loan interest calculator to discover how you can potentially pay less interest on your student loan.

Finally, consider your student loan repayment options. The loan term is the allotted period of time you have to repay the borrowed amount. You can try using a loan repayment calculator to calculate your student loan payments.

Know your options

By taking the time to understand student loans and their interest rates and repayment options, you’ll be better prepared for repayment after you graduate or leave school.

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