Student loans are the least popular type of financial aid because you must pay them back with interest. However, they can be a great help in paying for school. Just be careful: Only borrow what you need.
The U.S. Department of Education and private lenders offer student loans.
Almost everyone qualifies for a federal student loan. We automatically consider you for federal loans when you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To receive a federal loan, you must take at least six credits each semester, meet a few eligibility requirements, and make Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Federal loans have advantages over other types of student loans:
The federal government offers four types of loans:
With the federal Loan Simulator, you can calculate your payments under various repayment options.
Many banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer private student loans. The interest rates are usually higher and the repayment terms less flexible than with government loans.
Private loans require credit checks. Since many students have limited credit histories, most need a co-signer.
Some of the most useful publications about federal student loans from the U.S. Department of Education include: