Compare student loans for college to find the right combination that meets your needs.
When you’re a college student looking for loans, it’s important to explore all your options. Get started by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA will tell you and the schools you’re applying to what your expected family contribution (EFC) is. This will allow your prospective schools to determine how much free aid in grants and scholarships you qualify for. It will also let you know if you qualify for a subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan. With an outline of the free aid you’re eligible for, the federal student loans available (and their rates), and the amount your family will need to cover, you can start comparing student loans for college.
Examine rates, repayment structure and term when choosing your student loans for college
When it’s time to compare college student loans, it can be difficult to know where to start. Begin with subsidized Federal loans. The subsidized Federal Direct Stafford loan has a low interest rate, and the interest is paid by the government while you’re in school. You have to demonstrate a financial need to qualify for this loan, but if you do, you should definitely take advantage of it. After you’ve allocated savings, free aid and subsidized loans to the total cost of college, it’s time to examine unsubsidized Federal loans and private student loans, like the TruFit Student Loan® from Gulf Community Bank .
Comparing student loan options
When comparing student loan options, look at the borrowing limits first. Some federal loans have an annual limit that changes based on your year in school; while most private student loans let you borrow up to the total cost if necessary. Then, look at the term of the loan, or how long you have to pay it back. Private loans may have a longer term, which could mean more interest, but it also means more time to get on your feet after school.
Next look at the interest rate. You may find private student loan rates are more competitive than federal rates, and should compare the different fixed and variable options. Keep in mind, variable rates fluctuate with the market which will result in changes while you’re in school and repaying your loan. Finally, look at your repayment options. Do you need to start paying right away? Are your payments full or interest-only at first? Can you make payments without triggering full repayment? Can you consolidate your loans in the future?
Apply for a private student loan with Gulf Community Bank
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to apply for a private student loan. Consider asking a parent or guardian to co-sign private loans with you to improve your student loan interest rate and chance of approval. If you still have questions, speak to a member of our Student Services team. They can help you compare student loans for college and start the application process. Learn more about our TruFit Student Loan today to decide if it’s the right financing option for you.
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