Federal loans vs private loans: Know the difference
Summary: Where you go for a student loan can make a big difference in what that loan might cost you.
Time to read: 1 minute
Who this is for: Seniors and Parents
Federal Student Loans have their limits. So what happens if you need to borrow more money than the government will lend you?
That’s when you start getting into a whole new area: private lenders. These are companies that make their money from lending money. So their interest rates are often comparatively high. To be clear: The College Money Matters team urges you to avoid private lenders whenever possible.
However, if you find you must use a private lender, be sure to do your research first. Go online, find several different student loan companies, and compare their rates, fees and loan features.
You might also choose to borrow from a different lender each year, if you can get a better deal that way. But that leads to yet another complication. Between Federal Student Loans and private loans, you could end up with 16 different loans… from a variety of lenders… and a range of different interest rates.
That can be a lot to keep track of, and when the time comes – a lot to pay back. To help get a sense of what it could feel like if you don’t keep track of it all, check out this story.
Where you go for a student loan can make a big difference in what that loan might cost you.