How do I choose the right student loan for me?
You have many options when it comes to student loans for higher education. A few things to keep in mind:
Investigate your loan options carefully by considering the following:
How was this set of student loan results selected?
SimpleTuition's loan search and comparison tools save you time by doing the research for you. We connect you to the lender to apply for the right student loan for your borrowing needs.
SimpleTuition pre-screens loans based on your search criteria. We have up-to-date pricing and eligibility information from lenders, which allows us to present the most relevant loan options to you in an apples-to-apples comparison.
We filter loans based on the loan amount, student's school, degree program, and state of residence, and monitor any changes due to events in the lender and credit industry.
As the economy changes, lenders have tightened their lending criteria or even stopped lending altogether. Some lenders will not allow borrowing by students at certain schools because of the risk the student will default on the loan. Lenders often restrict the amount that they will loan, and some lenders are not licensed to lend in certain states.
I haven't heard from the lender I selected, and I applied for a loan a while ago. Can you help me?
We recommend that you follow up with the lender directly for the status of your loan application. Often, the application for a student loan is delayed because of missing information on the application. Confirm that you have provided the following information, if requested, on the application:
If you are still having trouble, please contact us with the name of the lender or student loan you chose and when you submitted the application and we will try our best to connect you to the lender.
What are my repayment options?
Most student loans have a few options for when you can start repayment. If you are enrolled more than half-time, you usually do not have to make payments on the loan while you are in school. If the loan is in just a parent’s (or guardian’s) name, you often do have to repay the loan taken out for your child, unless you are also in school yourself. After you leave your program or graduate, your loan may include a grace period of anywhere from 3 months to a year during which you do not have to make repayments. Depending on the type of loan, interest may or may not accrue during both the in-school and grace periods.
When you first take out a loan, your lender may let you choose from three types of repayment options:
Check with your lender for details on these and other options for repayment.
What information do I need to apply for a loan?
In order to complete an application for a private student loan with most lenders, you will need the following information:
Applying for federal student loans may require somewhat less information, but does require completion of the FAFSA.
When do I need to fill out the FAFSA? Is there a deadline?
You should fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can after January 1st of each year. Because the FAFSA asks for tax information from the previous calendar year, you may want to wait until your family has all of the necessary paperwork or has filed their income taxes. You can file the FAFSA before filing your income taxes using estimates, but you will need to go back later and correct any discrepancies.
The only deadline for filling out the FAFSA is June 30th at the end of the school year for which you are filing. In other words, for the 2012-2013 school year, the FAFSA will be available on January 1, 2012. You can file the FAFSA anytime between then and June 30, 2013. However, many states and schools allocate funds on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states have deadlines for filing the FAFSA to be eligible for certain kinds of aid. Please visit the Department of Education’s Student Aid on the Web for more information.
What happens if I cannot repay my loans?
Lenders will not forgive loans simply because the borrower could not find gainful employment or did not plan their budget well enough to include loan repayments. Generally speaking, a borrower has to have – and prove – mitigating circumstances in order to have their loan payments postponed or forgiven altogether. These instances are rare.
Two options that are sometimes available for postponing repayment of your student loans are deferment (when you can postpone repaying your loan principal and, in some cases, interest) and forbearance (when principal and/or interest payments may be suspended)
Deferments are not granted automatically – you must apply for a deferment and provide documentation to support your request. Deferments are commonly granted for:
Likewise, a forbearance is not automatically granted and required documented proof of extreme financial hardship or other unusual circumstances. For more information about deferments and forbearances, contact the financial aid office at the school that issued the loan or the original lender or current servicer of your loan.
Note that neither deferment nor forbearance is a given. Still, if you are concerned that you will not be able to repay your loan, you should definitely contact your lender to inquire about the possibility of deferment or forbearance. Make sure to make this inquiry before you miss payments. In most cases, if you default on your loan, you are no longer eligible for a deferment or forbearance.
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