Student Loan Reviews

Whether you're refinancing existing debt or borrowing money to fund your education, taking on a new student loan is a big decision. Our reviews take you through the pros and cons of the top lenders on the market, as well as everything you need to know before submitting an application.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do student loans work?

    When you take out a student loan, you’re usually given a lump sum of money to use for education, and you don’t have to begin repayments until after you’ve graduated. You qualify for federal student loans based on financial need, not your credit score. Interest rates are fixed and relatively low, and if the loan is subsidized, the government pays interest costs while you’re in school. Once your payments come due, you may be able to have your monthly payment amount adjusted to fit your income.  

  • How are federal student loans different from private student loans?

    Federal student loans are offered by the U.S. government, while private loans come from banks and credit unions. While federal loans are based on need, private lenders require a credit check and may be harder to qualify for. Private loans may have a fixed or variable interest rate, but federal loan rates are fixed and tend to be lower. Finally, federal loans have more flexible repayment options, such as income-based plans and forgiveness for those who qualify.

  • How can I get a student loan?

    To get a federal student loan, fill out a FAFSA form with details about your family’s assets and income. If approved, you’ll need to sign a loan agreement. If not, or if you need more money than you can get from federal loans, you can apply for loans from private lenders, who will look at your credit score and debt-to-income ratio. Most students can’t qualify for private loans on their own, so will need the help of a co-signer. 

  • How can I refinance my student loan?

    To refinance a student loan, you’ll need to take out a new private loan with a lower interest rate, then use those funds to pay off the original loan. Just as with other private loans, you’ll have to qualify for the refinance loan based on your credit and other financial information. The refi should lower your overall interest costs. But if you refinance federal student loans, you’ll forever lose some of their benefits and protections, such as generous deferment and forbearance options. You’ll need to decide whether the lower interest rate is worth it.

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