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Student Loans 101

Written by: Natalie Aranda

When it comes to furthering your education, you must have student loans to do it. It is rather simple to get extra funding to cover your school costs when scholarships and grants do not add up to enough funding. There are student loans out there for you to apply for as well as private loans and loan consolidation if you need it.

Student loans are available through the federal government and they are the biggest source when it comes to education loans. The most popular federal loans are Federal Stafford loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students or PLUS. The Federal Stafford Loans are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. The Federal Perkins Loans are given by colleges to those who need it the most and these loans require no payment of interest while the student is attending school. PLUS student loans are low interest and are available through the financial aid office of the school your student is attending or through the Sallie Mae foundation. This student loan covers all expenses, including room and board and books, which you as a parent were going to be financially responsible for. Two programs are responsible for federally funded loans. One is the Federal Family Education Loan Program in which the lender can be your school or bank. The other program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program where the lender is the U.S. Department of Education.

Private student loans are available to you when a scholarship, grant, or federal loan falls short of your tuition costs and other expenses like books or living. They are also called alternative loans. A private student loan is not sponsored by the government and therefore no federal papers will be needed to be signed by you. It is a loan that is offered through a bank or other financial institution. To obtain this type of student loan, credit is reviewed by each lender from you, your parent(s), and in some cases, a co-signer may be needed. The Sallie Mae program offers a private loan program for both graduates and undergraduates. Other private student loans include MEDLOANS and MBA LOANS. Loan consolidation is a great move when you have several loans to pay off. When you consolidate, your student loans with their various repayment schedules can be condensed down into one simple payment. An FFEL consolidation loan will give you a one-month payment option and they will contact credit bureaus and notify them that you have a zero balance. You must be in repayment of your defaulted loan with three on time payments to be able to obtain a FFEL student consolidation loan.  

About the author:

Natalie Aranda writes about personal finance, travel and business.

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