Federal Direct Loans: Student loans available under federal programs have very attractive terms when compared to most borrowing options—lower interest rates, the ability to postpone making payments, longer repayment terms, and less stringent credit requirements.
Federal Perkins Loans: The federal Perkins loan is a federally funded loan with a low 5% interest rate for students with demonstrated financial need. Interest accrual and repayment begins nine months after leaving college. Limited funding available.
Graduate Direct PLUS Loans: Graduate students are able to borrow money through the Graduate PLUS loan program to pay for their own education.
The Graduate PLUS loan will not reduce eligibility for the Stafford Loan, but the Graduate PLUS loan limit will take the amount borrowed under the Stafford Loan into account. The Graduate PLUS loan is limited to cost of attendance minus aid received, as certified by the school.
The Graduate PLUS loan presents an interesting alternative to private education loans.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan: Parents of dependent students can take out loans to supplement the student’s financial aid package. Direct PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.9% and the option to defer payments until 6 months after the student graduates or drops to less than half-time enrollment.
Alternative Loans: An alternative student loan can help you pay for college, generally at better interest rates than other lines of credit.
You should only use private student loans as supplemental funding after you have exhausted all other sources of financial aid.