Even with savings, gifts from family, and scholarships and grants you may find that you need additional funding to pay for your higher education.
Student loans can make up the difference between what you have and what you need to make your college dream a reality. Unlike scholarships and grants, however, borrowed money must be repaid - most often with interest - regardless of whether you complete your education or not.
Student Loans and Credit
How you manage this debt can affect your credit rating and your ability to borrow later on for a house, a car or anything else. Defaulting on a student loan can damage your credit history for up to seven years.
Tips for Responsible Borrowing
Borrow only what you need. Our loan counseling can explain the federal requirements you must meet to borrow a Stafford Loan, and help you better understand your repayment options.
Estimate the amount of debt you can afford. Use the repayment calculator to figure how much you'll need to make your monthly loan repayments once you graduate.
Understand your borrowing agreement fully - including all interest calculations. Our federal loan glossaries can help you understand all the terminology you may encounter in the financial aid process. It covers everything from accrued interest to Mater Promissory Notes.
Stay on schedule! Repaying a student loan on time can create and build an excellent credit history.
If you can prepay a student loan, do it! You won't incur any penalties, and you'll save on the total interest due.
Should you have trouble making your student loan payments, a deferment will allow you to postpone payments for reasons such as unemployment or disability. A forbearance is an agreement with your lender to postpone payments when you are having financial difficulties but are not eligible for a deferment.
For more information, see our deferment & forbearance information. Otherwise, to combine your student loan payments into one manageable monthly payment, you may want to consider Loan Consolidation.