NEXT Student Loans
Federal funding is usually the first stop for student loans after obtaining as much free money from grants and scholarships as you can. Federal loans are low-cost and have fixed interest rates as well as flexible repayment plans. Loans are funded directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Many times you will still come up short when seeking higher education funding, however. That is where private student loans come in. They are a great way to bridge the gap between federal funding and your total cost of college.
NEXT is a bank geared toward young adults and offers Student Choice loans from Northern Credit Union. Credit unions are unique in that they are not-for-profit organizations whose members each own an individual and equal share. NEXT re-invests its profits back into its services and products, enabling them to charge lower fees than bigger banks and financial institutions.
Student Choice Loans
Credit Union Student Choice is a collaboration of top credit unions around the nation providing student-centered options and a private student loan solution that has no origination fees and generally lower rates than the competitors. Interest rates are variable and reset quarterly depending on your, or your co-borrower’s if applicable, credit scores. Current interest rates for a NEXT Student Choice Loan are between 5.5 and 7 percent, depending on the current credit floor rate and credit qualification. Individual credit unions set their maximum loan amounts, and Northern Credit Union allows you to borrow as much as $75,000 or as little as $1,000 throughout your college career.
Student Choice Loans are offered as a structured line-of-credit, or LOC, meaning that after you are approved based on your credit check, you are offered an amount not to exceed your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you are receiving, that you can then draw from to pay for your education-related expenses. You just have to specify how much of the LOC you will need annually to be disbursed to your approved school on your behalf. Schools will need to certify the actual cost of attendance. Loan terms are 20 years if you borrow less than $40,000 and 25 years if you borrow more than $40,000, and you also have the option of deferring your payments until after you finish or leave school.
Applying for a Student Choice private loan is easy and can be accomplished. In order to qualify for a student loan with Northern Credit Union, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as determined by your school
- Be a degree candidate enrolled in an approved school at least half-time
- Provide proof of income and proof of your co-borrower’s income if necessary
- Be a member of Northern Credit Union to receive funds
You do not need a co-borrower to obtain a loan, but if you have negative or no credit history, you may require one. Additionally, a co-borrower with excellent credit can help you qualify for lower rates and more favorable loan terms. A credit check will be run to determine your eligibility and loan rates.
When it comes time to repay your loans, Student Choice provides two main options: either the standard repayment plan or the graduated repayment plan that allows you to make lower payments for two years in the hopes that your income will increase. Student Choice also offers many flexible options, such as the choice to pay only interest while in school, defer all payments until after leaving school, or make full principal payments.
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- Exit Counseling
- Filling It Out
- How the FAFSA Challenged Us to Find Alternative Funding
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- Reality Check
- Revising: A Primer for Parents
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