What Are Student Loans and Where to Find Them?

There are basically two places where you want to actively look for student loans. The first would be the federal government and the second would be private lenders. In order to be considered for any of the loans given out by the federal government, you are first going to fill out a lot of paperwork called the FAFSA which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This paperwork is then sent to the colleges that you think you are most likely to apply to.

There are four main federal student aid programs:

1. Federal Stafford Loan
2. Federal Plus Loan
3. Federal Graduate Plus Loan
4. Federal Consolidation Loan

The Federal Stafford loan is issued in the student's name, is mainly based on need and a credit check is not required. The sweet thing about this loan is that it does not have to be repaid until after the sixth month the student graduates from college, chooses to leave the college or university or stops attending college at least half of the time. Some colleges and universities offer the Stafford loan directly through our U.S. Government.

These are commonly called Direct Stafford Loans. The schools that offer these loans are usually known as Direct Lending Schools. Many other schools may offer the Stafford Loan but it will be through banks and other lenders. Schools that do this are commonly known as FEEL schools or Federal Family Education Loan schools. You will definitely need to choose a lender if you choose getting your Stafford loan through a FEEL school.

A Federal Plus loan is made in the parents name. Although a credit check is a requirement, it is not as stringent as a credit check may be for another type of consumer loan. After the loan is fully dispersed, repayment of the loan begins. Some colleges and universities offer the PLUS through the U.S. government and others offer it through other banks and lenders.

The Federal Graduate Plus loan is similar to the PLUS loan for parents. The one major difference is that it is made in the graduate student's name. You must keep in mind that you are obliged to repay this loan once it is fully disbursed. You may choose a deferment option as long as you are attending college at least half-time. Check with you financial aid officer for any other particulars.

Federal loan consolidation is for the student who is in repayment status. It is also for parents who want to extend the repayment period on any current PLUS loan and obtain a fixed interest rate for the rest of the life of the loan. All of your federal student loans may be able to be put into one loan using the Federal Consolidation Loan. Once you decide to consolidate, this locks in the interest rate you must pay on your loan.

If your costs are too much for federal loans to handle, then you may want to try to find a private student loan. These are made by banks and through other lenders. Their purpose is specifically for educational expenses. However, these loans offer the flexibility and convenience that are not found in any other federal loan programs. In order to obtain a private loan, you must have good credit and you will also have to have a qualified co-signer. Once you find a loan that meets all of your needs, it is easy to apply online and even get an instant response.
Author: Daniel Millions

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