If after exploring scholarship options you still find yourself unable to meet all the costs associated with college, a smart choice might be to secure a loan to help you pay for college. Loans come in many different flavors and eligibility depends on a number of factors.

Federal Loans

The federal government offers various loan options to help you financial your education. As a student, you might be eligible for a Stafford loan, which is a fixed, low-interest rate loan. If you are eligible, based on need, the government will even subsidize these loans so that you're not responsible for any interest while you are in school. Another need-based loan program is the Perkins Loan Program, which provide many of the advantages of subsidized Stafford loans in addition to longer grace periods and no fees.

Your parents may also choose to borrow loans to help you pay for college. PLUS Loans offer low interest rates, but they cannot be deferred while you are in school so your parents would need to start paying off the loan as soon as it is disbursed to your account.

Keep in mind that eligibility for most of these loans is determined based on information submitted in your FAFSA so make sure you complete the FAFSA application.

Private Loans

As federal loans have borrowing limits, you might find yourself considering private loans. These loans typically have higher interest rates, fewer repayment options, and charge higher loan fees. Consider them only have you have explored all your federal loans options. has a table comparing many private lenders. You might also want to check with your bank or local credit union and explore any options they might offer.

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