College Loans for Students - What to Watch Out for

By: Nigel

Picking a college student loan can be rather a stressful time. There are a lot of different options, so many different terms and often some very attractive offers. However it is important to remember that a lot of the student loans that sound too good to be true, usually are just that. Each year thousands of students enter into student loans which looked to be a great deal, but as they did not read the small print and they did not fully understand the terms and conditions of the student loan agreement, they have ended up being liable for thousands of dollars in interest and extra fees over the life of the loan.

The main points to look for in college loans for students, especially with private schools or education loans include:

1. College loans for students that promise you money for non-educational items or that state they have a loan that uses a loophole to get around the policies. This is both against the Higher Eductaion Act policies and is illegal and usually these types of scams are exposed, often too late for unsuspecting students.

2. Vague information on the interest rate of the loan and how the interest rate will be calculated over the life of the loan. If at all possible look at loans that allow you to fix the interest rate if the rate is competitive at the time of the loan. Not locking in a rate can result in either a really good option if the interest rates are more favourable to borrowers, but it can also go the other way and have the lender make a lot of money.

3. Find out if the lender will sell your loan. Several of the smaller private lenders will sell your loan to someone else, leaving you with someone other than the original lender to deal with and possibly resulting in different terma and interest rates. A reputable lender will put information about the selling of the loan in writing and will also guarantee that the original terms will continue to apply.

4. Your credit score will affect how much money you can borrow as well as your interest rate. Be very weary of lenders that promise low rates even if you have bad credit or a low credit score. They usually are adding in additional fees, costs or other services that you will end up paying for in the long run. These costs may well exceed having a slightly higher interest rate.

While it may be tempting to look at some of these newer companies offering college student loans, it is still good advice to stick with companies that have a proven track record and that have a history of working with students in a fair and responsible manner. Make sure you always research your student loan thoroughly before taking out the loan. Always get at least 3 different loan agreements from student loan companies so you can compare interest rates and terms to make sure you get the best deal. This is easily done over the internet, so make use of it.

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