How Do Federal Student Loans Work?
An educational loan is basically a form of personal loan designed specifically to assist students pay for their tuition, school related fees and other related costs, including living expenses, and post-high school education. Unlike other forms of personal loans, this one needs to be taken from a lender specifically approved for that purpose. The most common form of educational loan in the US happens to be the federal student loan. This is given to college and university students, or to anyone studying towards a post-secondary education through a post-secondary institution. Federal loans also come in the form of unsubsidized and subsidized loans.
There are also some other forms of educational loans available, which may be required by states for students attending schools in that state. Another variety of educational loans comes from private lenders, but they usually have stricter requirements than those of the government. Private educational loans are often used to fund post-secondary education for individuals who cannot afford to attend a school where they would get specialized education.
There are also non-education loan programs available, which may offer students financial aid to pursue higher education, based on merit and not on the basis of financial need. A good repute educational loan institution is critical in helping students obtain such forms of educational loans. This means that the educational loan company should be well known and reputable, and its lending practices should meet all applicable federal and state laws. There are some companies that may try to pass off poor quality educational loans, and pretend to offer them as genuine, when they are actually counterfeit. In such cases, the students lose their money as well as their chance to pursue higher education with a good repute.
Before opting for any form of educational loan, it is necessary to do your homework and understand the terms and conditions. There are a number of factors like duration of the loan, interest rates, payback options, penalties and other fees attached to the private student loans. The terms and conditions should be clear and transparent so that there is no confusion later on. In fact, it is advisable to compare different loan packages offered by various educational institutions before finalizing your choice. The best option is to approach a specialized private student loan provider for this purpose.
The first thing that you should understand is how does the federal government plan to pay off your educational loans? The government pays off the loans at the end of the grace period. The repayment starts once you start earning. It means that the longer you take up education, the larger will be the repayment amount.
Federal government’s repayment policies have some specific criteria for qualifying. For the Pell grant, the student must be enrolled full time at a school and have obtained a minimum grade point average (M GPA) within the prescribed academic year. For the Perkins loan, the student must be a full time student and eligible for need-based financial aid. For unsubsidized Stafford student loans and Perkins loans, the student must be a full time student who is enrolled in an undergraduate program at an eligible university. However, for PLUS loans, all eligible students who are 18 years old or older are eligible for assistance regardless of their age.