By: Contributor On: May 24, 2010 In: Applying to College, Money Comments: 0

If you’re taking out a loan to help cover the costs of attending college in the United States, there are important student loan questions that you must keep in mind before signing any papers!

US college is expensive. The costs of tuition, food, and living in a dorm or off-campus apartment really rack up! Loans are sometimes necessary — just make sure you’re getting the best deal!

Shop around, do some research and ask the right student loan questions before deciding on which private student loan is right for you.

Student Loan Questions to Ask:

  • What is the lowest interest rate that you offer? How can I get that rate? Is the rate only introductory, or does it last the duration of the loan?
  • If the interest rate on this loan is variable, is there a limit on how high the rate can go, and how is the adjustment determined?
  • What rate can I get on a “fixed-rate” loan?
  • When do my loans start incurring interest?
  • How long will it take to repay the loan? Is there any penalty for paying off the loan late?
  • When do I have to start making payments?
  • Are there different payment plans I can select from such as income based?
  • How long can I defer payments while I’m in school? What if I go to graduate school after my bachelor’s degree or decide to spend time volunteering with organizations such as Americorps?
  • If I don’t begin making payments while still in school,  how much will I owe after I graduate?
  • Are your discounts guaranteed, or are they subject to change?
  • If I cannot make a payment (“economic hardship”), can I defer or reduce my payments temporarily? Under what circumstances, and for how long?
  • How big of a loan can I get without reducing my eligibility for federal, state, or institutional aid?

Don’t forget — keep written records of all forms, applications, and correspondence with your lender, especially regarding discounts and special deals, until your loan is paid off.

Student loans don’t have to leave you penniless — you can avoid college debt by getting a good deal! If borrowing money is the right choice for you, make sure you know the right student loan questions to ask.

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