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Consolidate Direct Federal Student Loans.

A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education. It also differs in many countries in the strict laws regulating re-negotiating and bankruptcy.

In the United States, there are three types of student loans: two of them are federally subsidized and unsubsidized sponsored by the federal government and the other type is private student loans. The unsubsidized program allows students to borrow money with interest accruing during school and subsidized loans allow them to defer interest accrual until they are no longer in school.

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According to My Ed Account, student loans may be offered as part of a total financial aid package that may also include grants, scholarships, and/or work study opportunities. Private lenders are also currently guaranteed a return on their investment due to legislatively enacted changes in 2005, prohibiting the discharge of any student loan, unless the debtor is able to demonstrate "undue hardship."

myedaccount suggests that a student loan has major differences over conventional loans - 6% interest rates (higher than most home loans) and inability to negotiate. The interest rate on a student loan will generally be at least two percentage points lower than the going market rate for conventional loans, but this will vary somewhat.

Repayment typically begins anywhere from six to twelve months after a student leaves school, regardless of whether or not they complete their degree program. In some cases, repayment begins if course load drops to half time or less, so it is important to check the exact terms and conditions of any student loan.

The student may have multiple options for extending the repayment period, although an extension of the loan term will likely reduce the monthly payment, it will also increase the amount of total interest paid on the principle balance during the life of the loan. Extension options include extended payment periods offered by the original lender and federal loan consolidation. There are also other extension options including income sensitive repayment plans and hardship deferments. Extensions and consolidation will also add to the principle, many times the unpaided interest and penalties becomes capitalized.

The Master Promissory Note is an agreement between the lender and the borrower that promises to repay the loan. It is a binding legal contract. Direct student loans can be obtained by filling out the government FAFSA form, and each school will determine eligibility of a student for direct federal loans.