Different types of loans
Student loans are available through government programs, credit unions, and banks. In most cases, you do not need to repay student loans until you finish school. On average, about 40% of students use loans to help cover the cost of their college education.
Government: The U.S. government provides over 90% of student loans. Government loans typically have lower interest rates than loans through banks or credit unions. They often also do not accrue interest while you’re in school. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see which government loans are available to you.
Private: Credit unions and banks provide loans to students and parents for college education and expenses. While credit unions often have slightly more favorable terms, private loans will likely have higher interest rates and higher origination fees.
Where to start?
Start with your Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) to see what federal student loans are available to you.
studentaid.gov: Dig into the details of your options for federal student financial aid and get detailed information about your FAFSA application at studentaid.gov, or by phone at 1-800-433-7327.
National Student Loan Data System: Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you can manage your review your loan options at nslds.ed.gov/npas
Other loan resources
Loan consolidation: If you have multiple student loans, you may be able to consolidate them into a single loan with a fixed interest rate. Visit studentaid.gov/app/launchConsolidation.action or call 1-800-557-7392 for more information.
Federal loan repayment plans: Find out what options you have to set up or change your loan repayment plan at studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans: Explore options for parents to secure federal loans to help their children with tuition, fees, room and board, and other educationally related expenses at studentaid.gov/plus-app.