Financing Your Education
We worked with Juno to put together this brief guide on how to evaluate the various student loan options for undergraduate and graduate students.
This is purely educational and not financial advice.
FEDERAL UNDERGRADUATE LOANS
As an undergraduate, it’s usually best to hit your federal lending limit (ranges from $5,500 to $12,500 per year) as those rates will likely be the lowest available. These loans offer additional protections as well. The interest rate for these is 2.75% with a 1.059% origination fee.
PARENT PLUS LOANS
Once you hit your lending limit, you’ll likely turn to Parent PLUS loans. These loans are not subsidized by the federal government and can be more costly depending on your situation. They are also easier to get for those with low credit scores. The interest rate does not vary on an individual basis, and is 5.3% for 2020-2021 with a 4.248% origination fee.
These loans should only be used after you hit your federal undergraduate limit and begin weighing your other options. If you don’t need to take out more loans, don’t.
If you end up needing a Parent PLUS or additional loan, you might consider our partner Juno, an initiative that uses collective bargaining to get families the best private loans available. For the 2020-2021 academic year, they’ve negotiated rates starting at 3.49% with no origination fee.
Calculate the difference between Parent PLUS and Private loans here.
Federal loans for grad students are more expensive than undergrad loans since they are not subsidized. Depending on a variety of factors, they may be the best choice for you. Consider whether or not you’d be eligible for the protections and repayment options that federal loans provide, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Income-Based Repayment.
Many MBA and law students who don’t meet the criteria are more likely to consider private loans, where they can potentially save thousands of dollars.
Oftentimes, graduate students (MBA, law, etc.) follow a path where they are not eligible for features of federal loans. For example, many MBA students opt for a route that doesn’t involve public service, and therefore can’t take advantage of PSLF. In these types of situations, the most affordable loan becomes the best option. And the best option usually comes from Juno.
Juno is a collective bargaining group that does a yearly negotiation with lenders to get the best rates for students. To learn more about their deals, and to lend your voice to their fight, visit joinjuno.com.
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