Student Loans - what you should know, and some tips

Do you have a student loan? Are you thinking of getting one?

You should know that student loans in the U.S. aren't all the same. For instance, a Stafford Loan can have a fixed interest rate of around 6.8%. 

A Perkins Loan can be 5% interest, and has a 10-year payment period. A PLUS loan (parent loan) is about 7.9%.

This is more than current interest rates for savers, because the rate of school loans is made by Congress, and does not change as much as the cost of living does.

One thing is for sure (and has been all over the news lately) - all student loans must be repaid. Many lenders have you start repaying 6 months after you are out of school, or are not in school at least part-time.

Getting a private (not government) loan is generally more expensive. And putting student debt on a credit card can be extremely costly.

As you may have heard on the news lately, declaring bankruptcy does not get someone out of paying a loan.

But not all students can raise the money nowadays to attend college just from a summer job or savings. So getting a student loan can be necessary.

Be careful, take as many courses as you can per semester (as many as you can safely handle), and have a plan for what you want to take. Making a course plan is very important, as you can save money by not having to wait and take another semester of classes just because of a prerequisite that you forgot to take. Make sure you get an adviser too, to prevent this kind of mistake.

Make sure to ask your advisor about your credits transferring, if you plan to take more courses at another school or graduate school. There have been some scary stories of much student loan money being paid and lost and credits not applying towards a professional program.

And don't just go by what the advisor says, check for yourself at your second school before you spend time and money for classes that will not help you.

Are you looking for a loan? Fill out your information at the FAFSA site, and you will see all the loans available for you. You may even qualify for a scholarship or grant there too, and with the help of the FinAid or Fastweb site.

Find out more:

Loans - at the FinAid site.

The Stafford Loan website

Subsidized vs. unsubsidized loans

The official FAFSA site

Via Wikipedia: The Federal Perkins loan

Probe finds Fraud and Deception at For-Profit Schools (From USA Today)

And here are more of myome nontraditional student links: 

The Nontrad site and blog

Join Nontrads on Facebook

Nontrads on Yahoo

Nontrads on Twitter 

Former and current Nontraditional Student