Student lending takes many forms nowadays and many students need so much money to see them through their college years that they end up taking out loans from various sources. One of the most commonly used options here are Federal loans programs. So, how do these loans work?
Federal student funding is basically a lending program that is backed by the government. This was set up with the aim of giving students access to low cost loans with set terms. The interest rates and fees given with these kinds of loans are set by the government and participating lenders have to adhere to these levels.
One of the big advantages of taking out these kinds of loans is that they come without credit checks and, unlike many private lenders, loans companies here will not require any collateral guarantees before they will give you funding as the government will usually guarantee the loans against default. There are various options within this program.
One of the best known schemes here is known as the Stafford Loan. This scheme allows students to take out Federal Loans either from private lenders who participate in the scheme or direct from the government itself. There are also options for parents to take out loans for their child’s education such as the PLUS (Parent Loans For Undergraduate Students) scheme.
Another option here is known as the Perkins Loan. The lending system here is backed and funded by the government but the actual loan is given by the college that you attend itself. Loans here tend to be given to students who are suffering from specific financial hardship.
Most Federal based loans will give you a variety of repayment options. If, for example, you take out a subsidized loan then the government will cover your interest costs while you are at college. This kind of loan is reserved for students whose families are on lower incomes. An unsubsidized loan will give interest responsibly to you but you can defer your repayments until you have graduated. This particular loan is open to anyone.
In most cases you will not be expected to start repaying a Federal loan until a specific point after graduation (usually 6 months). If you take up a student loan consolidation program then you can change repayment terms in most cases if you want to make alternative arrangements.
Federal student loans do not give you an unlimited pot of money to borrow so they may need to be supplemented by private loans. These loans will generally cap the amount of money that you can borrow based on factors such as your status, your family finances and the subject that you are studying.
Remember that it is always worth shopping around to find the best deal even with Federal student loans. The lenders who participate in this scheme cannot exceed the interest rates and fees that are set by the government but they can make them lower than the capped levels. So, you may be able to save yourself some money here.