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Lender
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Repayment Terms
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4.07% - 16.50%
2.96% - 14.99%
10 years
Fixed APR
4.07% - 16.50%
Var. APR
2.96% - 14.99%
Terms
10 years
Fees
Late fees
Offers
Autopay discount (2%), Reward of $525 per successful referral, and Graduation Reward (1%)
Undergraduate
Student Loan Rating
5.09% - 12.39%
2.47% - 11.62%
Up to 15 years
Fixed APR
5.09% - 12.39%
Var. APR
2.47% - 11.62%
Terms
Up to 15 years
Fees
No fees
Offers
Good grades reward (1%), Autopay discount (0.25%), Interest-only repayment discount (0.35%), and Multi-year option
Undergraduate
Student Loan Rating
4.99% - 11.85%
1.50% - 9.44%
5 years to 15 years
Fixed APR
4.99% - 11.85%
Var. APR
1.50% - 9.44%
Terms
5 years to 15 years
Fees
Late fees
Offers
Autopay discount (0.25%) and Cosigner release
Undergraduate
Student Loan Rating
4.64% - 13.24%
1.74% - 12.23%
5 years, 8 years, 10 years, 15 years
Fixed APR
4.64% - 13.24%
Var. APR
1.74% - 12.23%
Terms
5 years, 8 years, 10 years, 15 years
Fees
Late fees
Offers
Autopay discount (0.25%), Graduation reward ($150), and Cosigner release
Undergraduate
Student Loan Rating
4.64% - 13.03%
1.49% - 11.69%
Up to 15 years
Fixed APR
4.64% - 13.03%
Var. APR
1.49% - 11.69%
Terms
Up to 15 years
Fees
No fees
Offers
Autopay discount (0.25%), Customizable payment due date, and Option to Skip 1 payment every 12 months
Undergraduate
Student Loan Rating

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How do student loans work?

Once you exhaust your college savings and gift aid (i.e. scholarships, grants, etc.), you may need to borrow a student loan to pay for college costs. A student loan enables you to borrow money to pay back at a later date, plus interest. If you graduate with a $10,000 loan with a 5% interest rate and plan to pay it off over 10 years, you will pay $2,728 in interest over the 10 years that you repay the loan, in addition to the $10,000 principal balance and any loan fees. There are two main types of student loans. Federal student loans are loans made by the U.S. Government that come with many benefits. Private loans are made by a private lender, such as a bank or a credit union. It is often recommended that you turn to federal student loans before private loans.

How can I avoid student loan debt?

There are many ways to avoid student loan debt. Saving for college is a great solution, but there are still ways to reduce student loan debt even if you weren’t able to save. Apply for as many scholarships as you can. Fill out the FAFSA to apply for grants and work-study opportunities. Find an employer who offers tuition assistance and work while you attend college. There are also work colleges where you work in exchange for tuition as well as colleges that have free tuition. Choose an affordable college, stay on track to graduate and reduce expenses as much as possible while you’re in school.

What is the difference between federal and private student loans?

Federal student loans are loans made by the U.S. Government and private loans are made by a private lender, such as a bank or a credit union. Federal student loans offer better benefits, including the possibility of student loan forgiveness, an option to make payments based on your income, options to postpone payments during times of unemployment and economic hardship and even the chance for cancellation of some federal loans.

Do I need a cosigner for a private student loan?

Most college students do need a cosigner to get approved for a private student loan. A cosigner should be a responsible adult with good credit and a steady income. Keep in mind it’s a lot to ask to be a cosigner, since it will impact their credit and they are legally responsible for repaying the student loan if you fail to repay the debt.

What is the difference between a fixed rate and a variable rate?

A fixed rate does not change, while a variable rate can increase (or decrease). A variable rate may seem desirable because it is often lower than a fixed rate, but it is more of a risk, since it could very well increase. A variable rate could change as often as monthly. A fixed rate offers more predictable monthly loan payments.

How does student loan refinancing work?

When you refinance a student loan, you are taking out a new loan with a private lender. Most people choose to refinance when they are able to get a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate means you will save money overall. Some may choose to refinance a student loan if they want to release a cosigner from the original loan or to switch lenders. But, refinancing federal student loans into a private loan means the loss of federal benefits, including income-driven repayment, the potential for loan forgiveness or widespread cancellation and the option to pause payments.

Should I refinance federal student loans?

Refinancing federal student loans into a new private student loans results in losing a lot of federal benefits. These include the potential to have your student loans forgiven (where you don’t have to pay the debt back), payments based on your income and family size, an option to pause payments if you lose your job and the possibility for widespread cancellation.

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