Going to college is an investment in your future. But while it can be a great way to expand your career opportunities and increase your earning power, it can also cost a lot of money. As tuition costs rise, so do student loan debt levels. Students must find loan options that work for them, their goals, and their budgets.
So how do you make sure that going to college doesn’t mean graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Here are a few considerations regarding finding the right loan for you.
Look Into Credit Unions
Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that offer some of the lowest rates for student loans. Unlike banks, credit unions tend to be smaller and more community-focused. Because of this, they may have fewer branches than some banks, but they often have online or mobile banking options that you can use from home to access your account without going into the branch office. Credit unions often offer lower interest rates than banks; however, if you have bad or no credit, you may have to search for other options if your credit union has no exceptions for low scores.
Consider Peer-to-Peer Lenders
If you’re a student looking for a loan, peer-to-peer lending may be an option. Peer-to-peer lenders are similar to banks in that they do not make loans directly but act as intermediaries between borrowers and investors by providing funding through the issuance of securities. While traditional banks tend to have stricter requirements and higher interest rates than peer-to-peer lenders, their services can still be helpful for students with good or excellent credit scores who need help securing a cosigner or other type of guarantor.
Outcomes Based Loans
Some private lenders like Ascent recognize that it can be challenging for students to build good credit. Many students are tackling higher education without outside support and, therefore, cannot land a cosigner. For these reasons, Ascent offers Outcomes Based loans that can be issued without a cosigner and good credit. These loans consider other factors like GPA, school of attendance, etc. If you need help finding a cosigner for your loans, talk to the expert team at Ascent to learn more about your options for loans for school. Not only does Ascent offer flexible private loan plans for students, but it also offers reward programs like scholarships and referral programs that you can take advantage of.
Alumni Association Loans
If your school has an alum association, that’s another option to consider. Often, these organizations will offer loans to current students or graduates of their institution.
To land a loan through your school’s alum association, there may be some requirements for qualification. For example, you may need to be a member of the alum association and have a good credit score when applying for this type of loan. During the application process and once accepted, do ample research into the funding opportunities available through your institution.
Before applying for loans, it’s essential to consider whether your employer offers programs that might help.
- Tuition reimbursement programs: These programs offer tax-free reimbursements or payments for tuition or other educational costs.
- Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs: These programs allow employers to pick up some or all of their employees’ student loan payments as long as they meet specific criteria (like working a minimum number of hours per week).
- Employee Education Assistance Program: This program allows a business owner(s) to sponsor educational courses that assist employees in achieving professional goals through coursework offered by accredited institutions such as trade associations or colleges/universities.
Scholarships and Grants
Scholarships and grants are a great way to fund your education. They’re competitive, but don’t let that stop you from applying! Scholarships are often based on merit or financial need and can be used for living expenses as well as tuition. One thing to keep in mind: scholarships tend to come from smaller organizations and local communities, so check with your school’s financial aid office and local organizations for help finding funding.
Your goals and ambitions for higher education shouldn’t be limited by access to funding. If you need help paying for college, options are available. With or without a cosigner, you can find a private student loan or scholarship that will work for you and help you achieve your dreams. If you need help figuring out where to start, visit Ascent to compare your loan options and learn more about how to organize your student finance.