Food, clothing, housing, utilities, transportation, fuel, medical expenses, and a little allowance for recreation - these are all the necessities of any non-student. But a college or university student is saddled with a lot of other expenses - tuition, expensive text books, basic school supplies, lab fees, student union fees, fraternity or sorority dues, a laptop computer, connectivity fees or equipment. Special calculators and cell phones are becoming necessities for college attendance as well.
Loans to Pay for a Higher Education
Depending on the reputation and other considerations, tuition and other education fees will vary widely from institution to institution. Tuition at a small community college will be considerably less expensive than an ivy league school. Every student should exhaust every avenue to find money for school. These can be in the form of scholarships, federal student loans, grants, government agency programs, and so forth. But even with these programs, the cost of the education could be out of reach for many. That is where the federal government can help, as well as private education loan lenders.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a government aid program that provides loans to students, especially to those who are unemployed or only working part-time. They even consider students who may have poor credit histories. These loans, however, are meant to cover only tuition and other fees fundamental to the cost of an education.
These funds are remitted directly to the school and do not cover other expenses such as text books, housing, transportation, etc. The student would be responsible for covering those expenses. The amounts bestowed are based on family income and tuition and fees necessary to attend the chosen institution of higher education.
Private Loans for Higher Education
Private lenders are also available to supplement student expenses. Shopping around is an extremely important part of landing a private student loan. Private student loans can weigh in a little heavy on interest rates charged. Amounts offered, interest rates, and payback terms can vary widely from lender to lender. Extra effort spent on researching lenders can potentially save hundreds or even thousands on interest rates.
Students with a good credit history can contract these loans themselves. Often, even if the student has no credit history, a lender will be willing to take on the risk with only the student signing. If a student has poor credit, a co-signer with a good credit history is required. Both the co-signer and the student should realize that if a student defaults on the loan, the co-signer will be required to pick up the bill with a substantial penalty.
Summarizing Student Loans
When it comes to interest rates, federal loans offer rates considerably lower than those required by private lenders. While federal loans go directly to the institution of higher education, the funds for students from private lenders are put directly into the student or parent bank account. The funds can be used for tuition and other fees, and they can also be used to cover the day to day expenses of the students, such as transportation, text books, cell phone contracts, or a laptop computer. The student or parent is responsible for covering the expenses needed to retain enrollment.
Both federal loans and private loans pretty easy to pay off. Payments are not required until after being graduated and the terms can extend over five to ten years. If a student decides to pursue a higher degree, payment for these loans can be extended, in many cases, until the higher degree is achieved or the student leaves the academic life.
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