Private Education Loans

How To Choose a Private Loan Lender

All lenders are not alike. In addition to banks, some educational associations, state education agencies, and other organizations offer student and parent loans for school. Each of these lenders may offer special discounts or services to a student based on the state they live in, the credit rating of the applicant, or even their grade level.

It is important to research and choose the lender that is right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure you take the time to compare what each lender has to offer before making a decision.

As a general rule, students should only consider obtaining a private education loan if they have maxed out their Federal loan options. Parent borrowers should also compare costs with the Federal PLUS loan. The PLUS loan is a federal parent loan and usually has better repayment terms than most private loans.

The fees charged by some lenders can significantly increase the cost of the loan. A loan with a relatively low interest rate but high fees can ultimately cost more than a loan with a higher interest rate and no fees. A good rule of thumb is that 3% to 4% in fees is about the same as a 1% higher interest rate. Lenders rarely give complete details of the terms of the private student loan before the student submits an application, in part because this helps prevent comparisons based on cost.

Thinking Ahead