Your Personal Guide to Finding the Best Student Loans

By Tamiera Vandegrift on April 15, 2017

Sometimes, taking out student loans is a necessary evil to ensure that you will be able to get the best educational experience possible. Scholarships and grants are hard to find when you are drowning in a sea of tuition costs, rent, and meal planning. Student loans exist simply to throw you a life jacket and to bridge the gap between what you can afford and what you cannot afford.

When it comes to taking out student loans, you want the best of the best of the best, right? You need to know that your student loan plan is not going to break you after you graduate. Several banks and other types of lenders can make deals and offers of loans for school, but which one is the best for you? The best thing that you can do is do your research and find the best student loan rates. How do you do that? Keep reading and find out!

Get yourself a cosigner

Chances are that you are not acquiring a high enough income or a solid credit history to take out a loan. That is totally okay! If this is your predicament, the best thing that you can do is apply for student loans with a cosigner. A cosigner is an individual who legally agrees to repay the student loans if the student borrower is unable to do so for whatever reason.

Lenders look at applicants to determine whether or not they seem that they can pay off their loans in the future. Lenders will look at the cosigner’s credit score, income, and other factors to determine whether or not to approve your application, so choose your cosigner wisely! Often, students will choose their family members to be a cosigner on their loan application.

As an added, exceptional bonus, applying for a loan with a cosigner typically means that you will receive a fantastic student loan rate! Getting a cosigner is definitely something you need to consider when looking for the best rates.

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Weigh your options

When you are hunting for the best student loan rates, you should absolutely do your research. If you put all of your eggs into one basket, or all of your hope into one application, you could be missing out on some excellent rates. With that being said, it is possible and appropriate to apply for more than one loan program.

Your credit score, or your cosigner’s credit score, will not be harmed in the process, but you must apply within a month to be safe. You need to apply within a short amount of time because you will make it more obvious that you are shopping for the best rate, rather than trying to create multiple lines of credit, which is not something you want to do!

There are many factors to keep into consideration when hunting for the best student loan rates. You want to look at the monthly payments, the length of the loan term, the total end cost, and APR rates. A helpful tool to make these comparisons is Unigo’s eStudentLoan system. By using it, you will be able to compare rates from different banks and lenders to determine what you are eligible for and which program will best suit your needs.

Keep your repayment plan in mind

Student loan programs will typically offer three methods of repaying your student loans. These methods are: paying off the loans (both principal and interest) right away, paying exclusively the interest while you are still in school, and deferring the payment of both your principal and your interest until after graduation (typically six months afterward).

Keep in mind that the longer you wait to repay the loans, the more you will have to pay off in the future. Also, lenders often offer lower rates if you pay off your loans sooner rather than later. Some may even offer lower rates if you make some sort of payment while you are in school. It might be a good idea for you to start paying the interest rates on your student loans in order to knock down your debt by the time you graduate.

When you are looking at student loan programs, be sure to pay close attention to the repayment plans before you apply. Doing so may save you a ton of money in the end.

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Take a breath

I know. Hunting for student loans is extremely stressful and scary, especially when you have no idea what your income is going to be post-graduation. As someone who is taking out student loans, I understand your qualms but relax. Take a breath. Only take out the funds that you absolutely need in order to keep your interest rates low. Try your best to keep as many scholarships and grants coming in as possible.

If you keep this advice in consideration, you will be able to find the best student loan rates possible. Good luck and happy hunting!

Tamiera is a senior at Florida State University, studying Editing, Writing & Media and Digital Media Production. When she's not geeking out about movies and puppy videos, she's on her way to a career in screenwriting, while working intensely to finish a few novels before graduation. Besides writing, Tamiera is otherwise obsessed with Coldplay, feminism, dystopian novels, and various types of junk food. She hopes to see one of her works on the silver screen and eventually finish an entire tube of Chapstick.

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