Student Loans

Author: Carla Abraham

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Student loans are a prevalent way to help students and their families pay for college. Loans are funds that are borrowed and must be repaid in full to the lender after the student leaves school or graduates.

Student loans can make college education a reality but often leave students with an enormous amount of debt once out of college.

Loans often have interest rates that over time can result in the repayment amount of several thousands of dollars more than the original loan amount.

With responsible borrowing and a repayment plan, loans can allow students and parents to offset the growing costs of college tuition. There are 3 main types of loans: Federal, State and Private.

Federal loans are the most common type of loans and are backed by the U.S. government. They have lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans based on income and the student’s ability to repay the loan. The types of Federal Student Loans are:

Federal Student Loans
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Perkins Loans are low interest student loans provided to students with exceptional financial need. Perkins loans are funded by the U.S. government but are individually disbursed by participating colleges and universities. The terms are highly favourable with a flexible cancellation policy therefore they are reserved for students with the greatest financial need.

PLUS Loans

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Plus Loans are federal student loans for parents of dependent undergraduate students (PLUS Loans) and graduate and professional students (Grad PLUS Loans). PLUS Loans can help cover the remaining cost of tuition if there is a gap after receiving other federal aid/loans.

 

Direct Loans (Also known as Stafford Loans)

Direct Loans

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Direct Loans (also known as Stafford Loans) are federal student loans to help students pay for college. Direct Loans are the most popular federal student loan as they offer students flexible terms and favourable interest rates.

 

State Student Loans

Just like federally-funded student loan programs, each state has their own individual student loan programs. Eligibility requirements and funding vary by state but usually require a student to be a resident of that state or an out-of-state student attending a college or university in that state.

There are different types of state student loans. Some state loan programs are for minority students, women, veterans or students with disabilities. Other state loan programs may offer incentives for students pursuing degrees in high-need areas such as engineering, math, science, or technology. Some state loans may be forgiven in return for public service or for educators who teach in undeserved communities.

For more information about state student loan programs in your area, contact your state’s higher education authority or agency.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions and 3rd party financial institutions but also by community organizations and foundations as well as individual and corporate donors.

There are 0% student loans offered by organizations such as the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). The MOAA offers zero interest loans to students (under age 24) who are children of former, active or retired officers or active or retired enlisted military personnel. There are variety of private funding sources available to students and their parent.

Some of the ways you can find and compare private student loan opportunities:

– Contact your Bank or Financial Institution

– Search the Internet

– Contact your College or University’s Financial Aid Office

– Visit your Local Library

– Contact Local Community Organizations