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Resource CenterParent ResourcesPaying For CollegeStudent Loan Considerations

What to Consider When Considering Student Loans

By College Parents of America

Smart use of financial aid, student loans and Parent PLUS Loans are essential ingredients for success. Before enrollment, consider the entire four- or five-year cost of attending college. Prior to taking out a student loan, recognize that repaying the loan may be affected not only by the college chosen, but also the student’s major and potential earnings following graduation.

Here are several things to keep in mind while seeking student loans:

  • Talk with the borrower about the decision to borrow student loan money for this academic program or institution, given the student’s long-term plans.
  • Review the loan amount. Borrowing less, whenever possible, is always a good decision.
  • Exhaust Federal Stafford Loans first. Make sure the student borrower has reached the maximum amount before turning to private student loans. The Stafford Loan is a fixed-rate, government-backed loan that does not require a co-signer.
  • Before choosing a PLUS loan offered by the federal government, evaluate your alternatives. There are many private student loan options that provide attractive repayment terms for families.
  • Discuss when payments will start. Most private student loans begin repayment six months after leaving school. Remind the student when the first payment is due.
  • Consider making interest-only payments while in school. This can save money over the term of the loan.

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