If you are a student, you probably have a lot on your plate. You may be taking as many as six classes this semester and probably working a part-time job or doing work-study to help you pay for the many expenses that college students must bear. If your financial aid package, scholarships, and other loans are not sufficient to pay for all of your needs, you might want to consider taking out a private student loan.
Private student loans are fairly easy to obtain; however, they are different than the Stafford or Perkins loans that you might already have taken out. Private student loans do not have a government guarantee of repayment, and therefore carry slightly different terms and are available in different amounts than those types of loans.
Borrow From $2500 To $50,000
Your private student loan may be for any amount - usually $2500 on the low end and $50,000 on the high end. These loans are credit-based, which means that the lender will look at your credit score and report before determining if you can receive funding.
Most students are too young to have established credit. Others may have had a few blemishes on their credit that would make a student loan nearly impossible to receive. For student loan borrowers in those situations, borrowing with a cosigner can greatly improve your chances of getting your new student loan.
Parents Make Great Cosigners
Your parents are generally the best source for a cosigner, although your cosigner can be anyone who has established good credit. If you have no credit or bad credit, its best to apply directly on the application with your parents, instead of waiting for the application to be turned down and then reapplying. (Every inquiry into your credit deducts points from your overall credit score which means that if you know you have bad credit, apply with a cosigner the first time).
Create A Budget
Before applying for your new student loan, you should consider the amount that you will need to borrow, and for how long the funds should last you. This requires the creation of a budget. Take into account how much you will need (beyond any other financial assistance you receive) for tuition, housing, books, lab fees, computers and computer equipment, dining, and other expenses. You should determine if the student loan you take out will be for the entire academic year or just for this semester.
Once you have an amount in mind, you can make your application to the lender of your choice. When shopping for a lender, closely examine the interest rates and repayment terms for each of your options. You should be looking for a lender who offers the least amount of interest. There are certain lenders who may charge very little interest on your student loan until you have completed your last degree. Also, depending on your income, you will be able to either pay on your student loan immediately each month, or postpone payments until after you graduate.
There are many great online providers of private student loans. These lenders offer user-friendly websites that allow you complete the entire application process online from the comfort of your home.
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