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Learn about college student loans, including federal and private loan options. Under the college lending program, financial institutions provide college loans at low interest rates and the government guarantees the loans. Stafford loans are the most common and one of the lowest cost ways to pay for school.
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• Private Loans for Students

fafsaPrivate student loans, also known as private education loans, alternative loans, or alternative student loans, are unsecured, credit-based loans used for education-related expenses not covered by federal loans and other aid. These expenses include tuition, books, commuting, a computer, school fees, and living expenses such as room and board. In addition, interest may be tax-deductible.

Applying with a cosigner improves chances of being approved. A cosigner with good credit will lower the interest rate. With most student loans, a cosigner's name comes off the loan once the following occurs. (1) the borrower makes the requisite number of on-time monthly payments of loan principal and interest as stipulated by the loan agreement, and (2) establishes and maintains a positive credit history and credit score that meets lender requirements. It's best to know your credit score before applying.

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• Federal Student LOANS

college loan optionsThe Department of Education is the federal agency that acts as the regulatory body for the federal student loan industry. In addition, the Department of Education processes all FASFA applications. Campus-based aid are federal government financial aid programs that are administered directly by the financial aid office at participating colleges and universities.

Federal Family Education Loan program (FFELP)
This is a federal education loan program to help students and their parents obtain low-cost education loans to help pay for higher education. FFELP loans include unsubsidized and subsidized Stafford loans, PLUS loans for parents, and Direct Consolidation Loans.

Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loan (Stafford Loan)
Also referred to as Direct Subsidized Loan, this federally financed and subsidized student loan is made on the basis of the student's financial need and other specific eligibility requirements. The federal government does not charge interest on these loans while borrowers are enrolled at least half-time, during a six-month grace period, or during authorized periods of deferment.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan
Also referred to as Direct Unsubsidized Loan, this is a federally financed student loan made to students meeting specific eligibility requirements. Interest is charged throughout the life of the loan. The borrower may choose to pay the interest charged on the loan or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to the loan principal).

PLUS Loans for Parents
Parents can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay your education expenses if you are a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time in an eligible program at an eligible school. PLUS Loans are available through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Your parents can get either loan, but not both, for you during the same enrollment period. They also must have an acceptable credit history.

PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students
Graduate and professional degree students are also eligible for federal PLUS Loans. You can get a PLUS loan through the Direct Loan and FFEL Loan programs, and borrow the cost of your attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. To be eligible for a PLUS loan, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for and receive the annual maximum loan under the federal subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. You must also have an acceptable credit history.

Perkins Loans
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Financial need is determined by the U.S. Department of Education, using a standard formula to evaluate the financial information reported by the student on the FAFSA. Perkins Loans are made through a school's financial aid office. A student can receive a Perkins loan at any one of approximately 1,800 participating postsecondary institutions. The school is the lender although the loan is made with government funds. This loan is repaid to the school.

Education Consolidation Loans
A Consolidation Loan is a federal loan that allows the borrower to combine multiple education loans into a single loan with one monthly payment.

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