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Choosing a Student Loan Lender

Oct 30, 2007
Student loans are a popular choice for funding a college education. Once the choice is made to use a student loans, they will become a major part of your financial life for years to come. This is why it is important to choose a lender that you will be able to work with for the entire duration of the loan. While you are evaluating your student loan options, there are a few important points to keep in mind.

Approval Method
Income and credit history are two key factors considered by most private student loan lenders. If you have a poor credit history, a low income, or both, it will be difficult to obtain a loan without a co-signer. Without a co-signer, you will need to look for alternative financing.

Federal student loans can be obtained without regard to credit or income. You must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as a FAFSA. Copies of the application can be obtained from the financial aid office at your school or online.

Loan Terms
One of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a student loan lender should be the terms and conditions of the loan. Loan terms include the amount of the loan, the interest rate, whether the interest rate is variable, the grace period, and default conditions. Each lender will have different lending terms.

You should choose the lender with terms that will cost you the least amount of money over the life of the loan. Lenders that offer fixed rate loans are a good choice. With fixed rate loans you don't have to worry about what the interest charges will be from month to month.

Repayment Plans
A lender that offers a variety of repayment options is also a good choice. Regardless of what you expect your income to be after graduation, you'll never know for sure until you reach that point. Remember, the hardest part about taking out a student loan is repaying it.

Forebearance and Deferment Options
Forebearance and deferment options allow you to temporarily halt your student loan payments in the event you encounter some financial difficulties during the life of the loan. This will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you'll have one less bill to worry about while you focus on getting back on track financially. Without any forebearance and deferment options, you'll be required to continue paying on your loan even if you have financial hardship. Be aware of each lender's options in this area as well as the criteria for qualification.

Keep each of these factors in mind while choosing a student loan lender. Decide which points are most important to you and look for a lender that offers the best terms in that area.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for Finance 123. Please visit us at Small Business Credit Cards and Unsecured Personal Loans
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