It's June, so student loan season is around the corner. Most of the time, you can't choose a student loan until you have your final bill from the university or college. As a result, June is a great time to research so that you have the right loan provider ready to go when the bill arrives.
Compare Interest Rates
Different providers offer different interest rate ranges. Make sure to look carefully not just at the minimums but the maximum as well.
Pay attention to whether the loans are fixed interest or variable. By reviewing a variety of providers, you'll be able to focus on those who offer the best rates. It's even better if you can get prequalified. A prequalification allows you to answer a few questions and the bank will do a soft credit check, which doesn't impact your credit. With this information, you can get a much more accurate idea of what interest rate you'll receive.
As you compare rates, don't overlook fees. An origination fee can make a lower-interest loan more expensive because of the percentage you lose when the loan is disbursed.
Interest rates are a major determiner of the best student loans, but it's not the only one. There's more to look for as well.
Consider Repayment Terms
Do you have to start paying a private student loan back immediately, or do you have options? Can you just pay interest while in school, or choose a fixed lower payment? Or do you need a full deferment until graduation?
Different lenders will have different repayment options. You should also look at how long you have to pay. Do you have choices in how long you take? Being able to choose between 5, 10, and 15 years can make a big difference in how much you spend and how much your monthly payments are.
Also, find out what provisions there are if you run into financial hardship. Can you defer payments, take a break, or take advantage of other options? If you can't find the answer on the website, call the customer service line for more information.
Look at Other Considerations
Interest and repayment are the two "big boys" when it comes to comparing lenders. But other factors matter as well.
For instance, if you need a cosigner for a loan, one of your primary concerns should be when and if the cosigner can be released. This is a big deal for those who might be helping you with your loan!
Another factor is what the lender does to be active and responsible in the community. Commonbond Loans has a social component to their business – for every loan issued, the company commits to fund the education of a child in need.
You may also find specific discounts that apply to you, or cashback offers, or other special conditions. Be sure these are considered along with everything else!
Take Your Time and Compare Carefully
Private student loans will impact your life for years to come. It pays to take time to carefully compare all of the terms and conditions before school starts.
By the time the bill comes, you can know exactly which lender to reach out to for funding!