Important Tips on Financial Aid from the staff at Scholarship Hunter:  When students and families are looking smart ways to pay for college or graduate school, free and easy college scholarships will rarely meet all of their needs. The next place to look are the financial aid programs offered by the federal government. Low-cost Federal Stafford Loans for should be the first option for all new undergraduate and graduate students seeking a low-cost federal loan. Stafford Loans come with a low fixed rate and no payments are required while students are enrolled in college. Normally Stafford Loans will only cover a portion of a student's college costs. To cover remaining college costs, students have several options. These options include Federal PLUS Loans for parents and private student loans (also called alternative loans) offered by various lenders. With the Parent PLUS Loan, parents can cover 100% of their child's remaining education costs. The PLUS Loan comes with a fixed rate and is available regardless of the parent's level of income. Private student loans are offered by banks and other student loan providers. Private student loans are available to students, parents, and other sponsors and can usually cover 100% of a student's remaining college costs. Private student loans normally come with variable interest rates that can rise greatly over time, but some lenders do offer fixed rate private student loans. Graduate students can now also take advantage of the Federal PLUS Loan program. The Graduate PLUS Loan allows grad students to cover 100% of their remaining education costs. Once in repayment, federal student loans can be consolidated into a single loan with a Federal Consolidation Loan. Note that private education loans can not be consolidated with federal loan programs, but private student loan consolidation may be available from certain lenders. Consolidating allows student loan borrowers to convert their loans into a single loan with one payment, a reduced monthly payment, and an extended repayment period. To learn more about your financial aid options, be sure to consult your financial aid advisor.


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