College Avenue Student Loans Edvisors Private Student Loans
Home > Financial Aid > Student Loans > College Loans

College Loans

Federal Loans

Your eligibility for federal student loans is determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Federal loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized based on student need. Take advantage of federal loans if you are eligible because they have lower interest rates than private loans and the conditions are more flexible.

  • Direct Loans

    Direct Loans, sometimes known as Stafford Loans, are the most popular college loans. They are available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Subsidized Direct Loans are need-based loans and Unsubsidized Direct Loans are awarded based on the cost of attendance and financial aid already awarded. Unsubsidized loans are not based on income. The amount you can borrow depends on your chosen institution, your year in school and whether you have a Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Loan.
  • PLUS Loans

    Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students Loans, or PLUS Loans, are available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. Parents can only take out one PLUS Loan for their children during the same enrollment period. To be eligible for either version, signers have to have decent credit. PLUS Loans for graduate students also require that the student borrower has already applied for their maximum federal loan amount. PLUS college loans are more expensive than Direct Loans, but they have a higher borrowing limit.
  • Perkins Loans

    Federal Perkins Loans were low-interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students with high financial need. As of September 30, 2017, schools can no longer make new Perkins Loans.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are also called alternative loans, because they are an alternative to federal loans. While federal loans have more flexibility and lower interest rates, they have tighter borrowing caps. Private lenders have more borrowing options for students who still need money. There are a lot of lenders, each with different rules, rates, fees and benefits. Do your research to find the best lender. Contact your college’s financial aid office for a list of top lenders.

Private loan rates fluctuate with the economy and vary from lender to lender. Each student lender sets their own interest rates and chooses their own benefits. Private lenders offer more money than federal loans. Most private loans calculate their number similar to federal loans, where the borrowing limit equals the cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Private lenders, however, usually require students to start paying immediately after the first disbursement. Investigate your private student loan options closely to make sure you are getting the best rate possible. Remember to always read the fine print.

Student Loan Consolidation

Consolidating loans can simplify your student loan repayment process because they combine several payments into one. Interest rates on consolidated loans are often lower than loans that are not consolidated. Federal loans can be consolidated during repayment, grace periods, deferment, and forbearance. Loans cannot be consolidated while the borrower is still in school. The consolidation rate is fixed for the life of the loan, which protects the borrower from possible rate increases but does not allow them to benefit from possible decreases. There are no application fees or prepayment penalties. Still, investigate your options carefully to not lose out on borrower benefits.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Colleges May Bring Students to Campus for Online Instruction

July 7, 2020

by Izzy Hall

With coronavirus cases on the rise in the United States, colleges are reevaluating their plans for the fall 2020 semester. Some schools have decided to bring a percentage of students back to campus – only for those students to engage in the same online learning that their off-campus peers would. [...]

College Admissions Deans’ Hopeful Message to the Class of 2021

July 2, 2020

by Izzy Hall

College admission requirements have already changed for the Class of 2021, as many schools have announced test-optional policies for the upcoming application period in the wake of widespread SAT and ACT test cancellations due to the coronavirus. Now, college admission deans have teamed up to sign a statement of empathy to rising high school seniors. Titled “Care Counts in Crisis”, this statement answers the questions of what college admissions teams are looking for in the applications of students who have been affected by the pandemic. [...]

New Menus for College Dining in Fall 2020

June 30, 2020

by Izzy Hall

The college dining hall – a place for food, friends and well-earned breaks. It’s known for a wide array of food bars, buffets, made-to-order stations and generous ice cream offerings. But for the Fall 2020 semester, the dining experience will undergo a reinvention to serve food safely amidst the novel coronavirus. What will the dining halls of the COVID-19 era look like? [...]

Last Reviewed: July 2020