The Best Options for Private Student Loans

Getting a college education is often the best way to get ahead. It can be difficult, though, because of all the expenses. There are books, labs, and many other expenses besides the classes themselves. Going to school often means working less, if at all. So there must be a source of income during school. Many students will qualify for aid, whether through grants, loans or work study. But often the available aid isn't enough, so students look for other ways to fill the gap. Educational loans can bring in enough money to fill the gaps so a student can continue in a program of study. But it is important to research what each student loan lender offers, not only to make sure the loan provides enough cash but that the terms are acceptable.

Are the biggest lenders necessarily the best?

Not necessarily, but they may have the options that best suit your personal needs. That is why it is important to carefully compare the lenders and apply your circumstances to each option. A big company like Sallie Mae might have the kind of customer service a smaller company struggles with.

Is Sallie Mae a good choice for private student loans?

One of the reasons Sallie Mae remains a popular choice for individuals needing private student loans is that Sallie Mae has been helping students achieve their educational dreams for almost 50 years. They offer competitive interest rates and multiple repayment options. Students can trust their process, because Sallie Mae does it a lot.

What is the advantage to using private student loans as opposed to regular private loans?

Loans which are taken out specifically for educational purposes often have far better terms than regular loans. From interest rates to repayment options, a private student usually offers a wide variety of perks that  traditional loans don't.

Which lenders actually have the best rates?

While they are similar, Capitals One has the lowest rates starting at 5.24%. College Ave is close with 5.29%, and SunTrust rates start at 5.35%. Rounding out the top five are Ascent with 5.49% and Sallie Mae with 5.74%.

Are interest rates fixed for student loans?

Some of the newer lenders have loans with other kinds of interest rates. Some have rates that change depending on outside factors, while others have interest rates that change according to a plan. Someone who just graduated might ask for a much smaller interest rate until work is established, at which time the interest rate could go up. Citizens One and Ascent variable rates .

Will students need to pay the money back right after graduation?

The best private student loans allow students to set repayment terms depending on perceived need. Most don't make students start paying while still enrolled in school, and many have a grace period so students have time to become more financially stable before repayment. Private loans don't require the lenders to offer a 6 month Grace period , but companies like Sallie Mae do.

Can individuals who do not qualify for federal student aid get private student loans?

There may be many reasons someone may need to get a private student loan, such as not being qualified for federal aid or maxing our federal aid benefits. In those cases, a private loan could provide the necessary money for school expenses. Students working on certificates or nontraditional programs may not qualify for federal aid.

What is the main thing to look for in a loan?

The bottom line when it comes to student loans is that it is always best to pay the lowest price. That means carefully considering how much to borrow and then looking at the overall cost with the interest rate.

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