College Loans At A Glance
These days, potential students have to rely more and more on college loans, grants, and scholarships, which means that it is more important than ever to understand the ins and outs of college loans. There are an abundance of loans out there and before beginning the financial aid process, it is crucial to take a comprehensive look at each and every one of them. This way, the student – and his or her parents – can know exactly what they are getting into and what they have to expect. Over half of all financial aid is comprised of loans, some of which are need-based, while others are merit-based.
There are four main kinds of college loans: federal student loans; private student loans; college-sponsored loans; and parent loans. Within federal student loans, there are also four main types, beginning with the Perkins Loans. As college loans go, Perkins Loans are need-based. They are awarded to students who require the most monetary help and usually come with very low interest rates – sometimes as low as five percent. Perkins Loans make excellent college loans because they do not require students to make payments while they are enrolled in school.
Next are subsidized Stafford Loans, also need-based. This type of college loan comes with a fixed interest rate. Moreover, the government covers the interest while a student is in school, during the grace period following graduation, and for any authorized loan deferments. The third type of college loan classified as federal student loans are unsubsidized Stafford Loans. These are not based on financial need and students are responsible for the interest – although they can defer these payments while they are enrolled in school, as long as they understand that it will be applied to the principle. Lastly, there are Grad PLUS loans, which apply to graduate students.
The second type of college loans are private student loans, which generally come from third-party lenders. In general, they are not subsidized loans and usually carry higher interest rates. College-sponsored loans make up the third type of college loans. These, of course, are loans which are offered directly from an individual university. Last of all are parent loans, which are divided into two types: federal PLUS loans and college-sponsored loans. With parent loans, parents can receive as much as the full cost of college attendance, less than any other aid received. The difference is that college-sponsored loans usually offer lower interest rates. In both cases, those who receive these loans must start paying them back sixty days after the money has been applied to the university.
There are numerous college loans available to both college-bound students and their parents. Naturally, some college loans may be available for some people without being available to others but, for the most part, there is something out there for anyone looking to continue their education. In addition to college loans, many types of grants are available, as well as scholarships too numerous to count. It is simply important to know exactly what is available and what it entails before beginning the process for receiving financial aid.