1) SUBSIDIZED" STAFFORD OR DIRECT LOANS
These are need-based loans with the same interest rates, loan maximums, and terms. A Stafford Loan may be borrowed from a commercial lender such as a bank or credit union. A Direct Loan is borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. That's the only difference between the two loans.
They're called "subsidized" loans because the federal government pays the interest while you're in school.
Loan limits are as follows:
Freshmen = $2,625
These are some of the best types of college student loans you can obtain. The origination fee is only 3% (which is deducted from your loan proceeds), interest rates are currently a low 3-4%, and repayment doesn't begin until 6 months after you graduate, leave school, or drop to below half-time status.
2) UNSUBSIDIZED" STAFFORD OR DIRECT LOANS
These are non-need-based loans offered at the same low rates and terms as the subsidized Stafford and Direct Loans. The only difference is that the federal government does not pay the interest while you're still in school, so repayment begins almost immediately.
With these loans, you have the option of not making payments while you're in school, but the drawback is that the interest payments get added on to your loan balance.
3) PERKINS LOANS
Perkins Loans are need-based loans and are awarded by the financial aid office to students with the highest need. The federal government pays the interest while you're in school, and repayment doesn't begin until 9 months after you graduate, leave school, or drop to below half-time status. Students can borrow a maximum of $4,000 per year for up to 5 years of undergraduate study.
Those are your loan options available from the federal government. Here are a couple of other options for obtaining college student loans …
Inquire with each college you're considering, as some colleges have their own loan funds. In some instances, interest rates may be lower than federal student loans.
Private College Student Loans
Many commercial lenders and financial institutions offer private education loans to students. These loans aren't subsidized and usually carry higher interest rates and higher fees than the federal "need-based" loans.
Here are the various types of loans that PARENTS can obtain for funding their child's education:
This is a non-need-based federal government loan, and is the largest source of parent loans. In fiscal 2001-02, approximately 612,000 loans were issued, totaling $4.6 billion. PLUS loans have no yearly limit (you can borrow up to a school's full Cost of Attendance, less any other financial aid received), the interest rate is variable and cannot exceed 9%, origination fees range from 3-4%, and repayment begins within 60 days.
College-Sponsored Parent Loans
You should definitely check with a college's financial aid office to see if they offer their own "in-house" loans, as a small number of colleges do offer their own parent loans, oftentimes at a better rate than PLUS loans.
Private Parent Loans
A number of lenders and other financial institutions offer private education loans for parents. You should most likely consider PLUS or college-sponsored loans first, as these private loans usually have higher interest rates and higher fees.
That's a brief overview about college student loans. If you'd like even more detailed information, a helpful resource about federal government loan programs can be found at www.studentaid.ed.gov. Also, a Google or Yahoo search under "college student loans" will return a whole slew of helpful resource sites.
Best of luck on your college journey! :)
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