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Understanding School Loans

The Truth About School Loans

How Private Loans Can be Beneficial for Students

College can be extraordinarily expensive, and for most students, paying out-of-pocket would be impossible.

Private school loans are a reliable way to pay for tuition and some of the other costs of college once you’ve exhausted all your options for federally-funded student loans, scholarships and grants. When you take the time to find a quality lender, a student loan can make your degree affordable.

Unfortunately, many students don’t understand how school loans work and end up graduating with sizable debt. The truth about college loans is that they’re basically similar to all other loans–they carry risks, but by doing an adequate amount of research and paying your loan on time can help you build your credit slowly but steadily.


What to Know When Evaluating Loans

There are a few important steps to take when looking for student loans. The first and most important is to decide how much money you really need.

Most college students have a general idea of how much things like tuition, room and board will cost, but remember that there are dozens of ways to pay less for your education, especially during the first years of college. Consider taking your general education classes at a community college and find out whether you can take AP placement tests for college credit. You can still attend the college of your choice to pursue your major, but cutting some of your first and second-year tuition bills will drastically decrease the amount of money that you need to loan.

Once you know how much you’ll be borrowing, evaluate several different lenders. Get quotes and compare interest rates. Comparing lenders is one of the fastest ways to save money, and while you’re reading through a few quotes, you’ll learn how different repayment plans work and how large your loan payments will be.  A student loan calculator may be able to help you better understand how much you’ll need to borrow.

Finally, remember that private lenders will look into your credit history. If you have open lines of revolving credit or if you simply haven’t developed your credit yet, you might have a tough time finding low rates. Talk to your lender to explore your options and consider asking a family member with good credit to act as a cosigner.

By doing your research and understanding how student loans work, you’ll improve your chances of locking in a great loan with affordable rates. Remember to ask your lender if you have any questions and use online resources like loan calculators to evaluate school loans before making any decisions.

Actions to Take

  • Look for experienced lenders. Generally, it’s best to choose lenders who specialize in school loans, as they tend to offer flexible payment options and better rates for students.
  • Start planning as soon as possible. The more time you take to compare rates and lenders, the better your chances of getting a great loan.
  • Get a cosigner if you don’t have a credit history. Cosigners take on a risk by supporting your loan, so make sure that they understand the terms of your loan.


One Final Tip

Missing a payment could negatively affect your credit and extend the life of your loan, so it’s important to choose repayment terms that will work for you. Make sure that you understand how payment will work and when you’ll need to start writing checks. Some loans require payments before graduation, so work with a flexible lender and try to plan appropriately.

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