Find the Best Private Student and Education Loan Rates

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Student Loan Debt Clock. Private Student Loans Guru. When federal student aid is not enough, get objective information and expert advice about paying for college with private student loans. Private Student Loans Look here for a list of lenders offering private student loans.

When federal student aid falls short, consider private student loans as an alternative education financing option. Private Parent Loans Look here for a list of lenders offering private parent loans. Private Consolidation Loans Look here for a list of lenders offering private consolidation loans.

Federal Student Loans Students should borrow federal first, because federal student loans best options for private student loans cheaper, more available and have better repayment terms. Comparing Federal and Private Student Loans Explore differences between federal and private student loans, such as cost, limits, forgiveness, repayment and other tradeoffs. Do Not Borrow Private Student Loans Before borrowing private student loans, review the top ten reasons why you should avoid private student loans.

How to Choose the Best Student Loans Criteria for choosing a student loan include cost, options for dealing with financial difficulty and who must repay the debt.

What is Affordable Debt? Total student loan debt at graduation should be less than the borrower's annual income, so that it can be repaid in 10 years or less. How to Save Money on Student Loans Learn the top 12 tips for cutting the cost of student loans, such as going on a debt diet, cutting interest and speeding up repayment. Student Loan Discounts Save money on student loans with interest-rate and principal reductions, such as auto-debit discounts and graduation rewards.

Cosigner Release Apply for cosigner release after making 12, 24, best options for private student loans or 48 consecutive on-time payments and satisfying the lender's credit criteria.

Variable Interest Rates The choice between fixed and variable interest rates often depends on whether interest rates are increasing or decreasing. Check Your Credit Scores To get approved and a lower interest rate, check your credit reports and correct errors before applying for a private student loan. Why Consolidate Student Loans?

Carefully consider arguments in favor and against student loan consolidation. Lower costs may not be the only consideration. In-School Payment Options Explore options for best options for private student loans in-school payments on a student loan: Beware of Loan Scams Never pay a fee to consolidate student loans, change repayment plans, lower monthly payments or apply for a private student loan.

Repaying Private Student Loans When your grace period is gone, repayment begins. Best options for private student loans started by getting organized and looking into loan consolidation. When to Pick Private Student Loans Although federal loans are usually the best choice, there are some cases when students should consider private student loans. How to Pay Off Student Loans Faster Learn how to save money by making extra payments on your student loans, with no prepayment penalty.

Guru is written by Mark Kantrowitz, the nation's leading expert on student loans.

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Private Student Loans Guru. How to Choose the Best Student Loans By Mark Kantrowitz When choosing student loans, students and their families should focus first on the cost of the loan. This can affect the monthly payment and the total payments over the life of the loan. The best loans are the lowest-cost loans.

Also important is the availability of repayment options for borrowers who encounter short-term and long-term financial difficulty, such as deferments, forbearances and alternate repayment plans. Other considerations may include who is responsible for repaying the debt and the quality of customer service.

Some borrowers choose the lender with the most familiar name, such as the lender with the greatest brand recognition nationally or in the borrower's geographic region. Others choose the lender that is listed first on a college's preferred lender list. These lenders do not necessarily offer the lowest-cost loans. It is best to shop around, as rates and fees may vary by lender.

Sometimes, a less well-known lender will offer the lowest-cost loans. Lowest Cost Loans When considering the cost of the loan, it is best to shop around for the loans with the lowest interest rates and fees.

Although federal student loans have up-front pricing, many private student loans do not. Instead, the interest rates and fees are personalized based on a variety of factors, such as the credit scores and credit history of the borrower and cosigner.

In some cases, the lenders will also consider the student's college, grade point average GPA , year in school, degree level and academic major. When shopping around for the lowest cost loan, do not rely on the advertised interest rates and fees. The best advertised rate is not necessarily the rate you'll get. The only way to know what interest rate you'll get is to apply for the loan.

It is best to focus on the interest rates and fees, not the monthly loan payment. Beware of comparing loans with different repayment terms, as a longer-term loan will have a lower APR and lower monthly loan payment, despite charging more interest over the life of the loans.

Focusing on just the monthly payment may give a misleading perspective of the cost of the loan. If you are comparing several loans based on the monthly loan payment, also compare the total payments over the life of the loan.