8 Resources to Use When You're Confused About Student Loan Terms

By Kaitlin Hurtado on November 27, 2019

Student loans can be pretty scary from start to finish. The hardest part is learning how to navigate them, from finding out how to get them to fund your college education to understand the fine print of your student loan terms. Sometimes, all you want is for someone by your side to take you through every term you don’t 100% understand. However, not everyone has someone by their side to walk them through the process of taking out student loans and paying them back. Lucky for you, with a bit of digging, there are plenty of resources out on the internet to help you understand all the student loan terms.

And even better, we here at Uloop have narrowed down a list of great resources you can use to find student loan terms broken down in a way that makes them much easier for you to understand – no digging necessary on your part. Check out the resources we’ve compiled for you below:

student loan terms

Photo: Pexels

1. SimpleTuition by LendingTree

SimpleTuition is a resource you can use to better understand student loan terms. They even have a “Student Loan and College Funding Glossary” that makes it quite easy to navigate the journey to understanding student loans.

The site’s goal as a whole is to make it easier for students and their families to afford higher education by offering tips, advice, and interactive tools. They want to make it easier for students to plan better for the cost of college, find the best lender possible and deal with paying back student loans. Their student loan comparison feature will help you find the best lender by showing you the best rates and borrow benefits that you can get, possibly saving you thousands of dollars in debt.

Already have student loan debt under your name? No worries. The site also has a “PayBackSmarter” feature that helps you figure out the best way to manage your existing student loan debt. It’s a great place to connect with resources to help you figure out a way to get out of debt faster and for less cash?

2. FastWeb’s “Student Loan Glossary” 

FastWeb has created a “Student Loan Glossary” to help students understand their student lending options and the language it all entails. FastWeb stands for Financial Aid Search Through the Web, and it does just that for its users. Stopping by the site before signing onto any loans is a great idea because why would you want to agree to something without actually knowing what the terms behind what you are agreeing to actually mean? Especially something with such a hefty price tag.

FastWeb’s glossary for student loan terms is short and sweet, or as sweet as student loan terms can get. Their descriptions are brief and straight-to-the-point, helpful for someone looking to get a quick explanation rather than reading article after article for a break down of a single student loan term.

FastWeb also helps alleviate some of your financial aid issues – they help connect students with scholarships through their site. All students need to do is to input their qualifications and interests, and FastWeb will connect them with scholarships that will apply to them.

Between their glossary for student loan terms and scholarship search features, Fastweb will surely be saving you plenty of time and money during your college endeavors.

student loan terms

Infographic by Kaitlin Hurtado, via Canva

3. The Simple Dollar

The Simple Dollar has a page for “Student Loans 101: Vocabulary” and it can be very helpful for those students looking for a quick and simple guide. It isn’t as extensive as the ones previously mentioned, but it is still a good resource to go to if you want to save yourself some time. They also have different articles linked to further explain a term.

For example, they briefly explain unemployment deferment, then link to an article that further explains unemployment deferment and how you could go about applying for unemployment deferment. Or, they break down different types of repayment plans, like income-based repayment, and link to an article discussing various student loan repayment plans.

The Simple Dollar began as a community for different people to connect, share, and learn about personal finance. It has now evolved into a finance blog that offers users guides on investments, debts, credit cards, insurance, and much more.

4. College Ave. Student Loans’ “Student Loan Glossary” 

College Ave. is another site with an extensive page dedicated to explaining student loan terms — their “Student Loan Glossary.” They present a “trusted guide to exploring and understanding the many different terms, abbreviations, and financial jargon that’s associated with federal and private student loans.”

Once you are done reading through their guide on student loan terms, they link to relevant articles that can help you further learn about the terms associated with your student loans. This includes variable interest rates versus fixed interest rates and explaining the difference between them, how parent student loans actually work, and so on.

College Ave. is a site to “flip the script on student loans and make getting a private student loan for college better” by making the path to student loans less difficult and complicated for their student loans. They will help you apply for student loans online, from home, and let you know if you have been approved near easily. They help you find student loans and find the best possible way to pay the student loan backs.

5. MagnifyMoney by LendingTree – “18 Common Student Loan Terms, Explained”

MagnifyMoney’s article on “18 Common Student Loan Terms, Explained” is another great place to start on your journey to understanding the student loans you are looking at. With this guide, you don’t have to scroll endlessly looking for a break down of the term you are looking for, it is a quick read overall.

MagnifyMoney’s mission is to help people lead financially healthy lives by providing users with free information, necessary tools, and finance calculators. They want all users’ personal finance questions to be answered, just with a visit to MagnifyMoney’s website.

The editorial content of their blog will give you in-depth articles that cover a variety of personal finance topics, including student loans and how to navigate them on your own (with the help of MagnifyMoney, of course).

6. Edvisors

Edvisors has a whole chunk of their website dedicated to a collection of resources for “Understanding Student Loan Terminology.”

Rather than just a page for a glossary defining student loan terminology, it gives you a page offering you more in-depth help. On the page, you can find and compare private student loans for your school and discover the loan options available to you.

With all the information, their guide is still pretty easy to navigate. Loans are broken into different loan types: federal student loans, private student loans, direct loans, and Parent PLUS loans. They also have featured articles, all of which are helpful for your journey to understanding student loan terms: student loan interest rates, comparing fixed interest rates and variable interest rates, understanding student loan fees, and letting you know just how much money you can borrow in student loans.

Other articles detail out other student loan terms, such as interest capitalization, cosigners, master promissory notes (MPN), and disbursement. They also help you out with loan counseling, such as federal student loan entrance and exit counseling – something many college students can struggle with when it comes to taking out student loans.

Their glossary isn’t just focused on student loan terms, but their “Student Financial Aid Glossary” gives you a breakdown of all the terms associated with everything related to financial aid. Like other glossaries mentioned, they also provide helpful links to articles further explain a financial aid term if you need it.

Edvisors aims to “help students and parents easily find what they need to know, so they can make more informed, smarter decisions about college costs and financial aid.” With all the resources they make available for college students and their parents, they are doing just that.

student loan terms

Photo: Pexels

7. Uloop 

Uloop is a website dedicated to helping out college students. Whether that be connecting college students to part-time jobs or internship opportunities, housing options, or articles on a variety of topics helpful to college students like you. Ranging from topics like decorating your room on a budget to personal finance help, we here at Uloop have you covered. Here are a few articles that you will find helpful in your journey to understanding your student loans better:

“What to Know about Student Loan Forgiveness” by Kaitlin Hurtado

In this article, the subject of student loan forgiveness is detailed. Does student loan forgiveness sound intriguing to you, or want to see how you could possibly qualify for it? This article lists out different ways you can qualify for student loan forgiveness: volunteering for specific organizations, choosing a career path offering student loan forgiveness options, or just simply waiting it out. Read for more information.

A Complete Guide to Stafford Loans” by Emily Plummer

Need help on figuring out what types of loans mean what? No worries, writer Emily Plummer made a guide just for Stafford loans, which are commonly referred to as direct subsidized loans and direct unsubsidized loans. She breaks down what they really are, defines who is eligible, and lets readers know how and where to apply for Stafford Loans. Read on to find if Stafford Loans are right for you when it comes to picking out student loans.

Understanding Student Loans: Federal vs. Private” by Alicia Geigel

This is another in-depth article that helps explain the difference between two main types of loans – federal loans and private loans. Writer Alicia Geigel provides an overview of student loans, including a brief overview of student loan key terms, defined by Ryan Lane of US News. She includes the definition of promissory notes, grants, work-study, services, and more.

Your Guide to Student Loan Interest Rates” by Elise Nelson

Interest rates can be one of the most daunting aspects of student loans, but lucky for you, writer Elise Nelson is here to help you figure them out with her Uloop article. Her “crash course” will help you with all you need to know with student loan interest rates and save you the headache (and help with the anxiety) of dealing with forgotten or misunderstood student loan interest rates. She breaks down what interest rates are, how they differ on different types of student loans,  and how interest is actually calculated.

8. Your campus financial aid office

As helpful as online resources can be when it comes to navigating student loan terms, sometimes a back-and-forth conversation is what you actually need. Check out the financial aid office for your campus. They aren’t just there to tell you what loans or grants you have access to, but also to connect you to different resources and help explain them to you.

Make sure to set proper time aside and plan accordingly if you plan on spending time on a visit to the financial aid office in person. You are not going to be the only college student with financial aid students, they often have a long line of students wanting their help. Try to see if you can schedule an appointment with someone in the office, or if they have an online check-in system where you can “stand in line” without wasting possible hours in front of the office waiting for a turn to ask a single question.

If these online resources weren’t the help you were looking for, surely your campus financial aid office can steer you in the right direction.

Student loans can be enough to make any college student hesitate pursuing their education, but sometimes they may be the very thing allowing you to get that education in the first place. If you do find yourself having to take out student loans, make sure you completely understand what you are signing onto. Hopefully, this list of resources will make the process of navigating student loans all the more easier when you can better understand student loans.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a fourth year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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