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Private Student Loans As a general rule, don’t consider getting a private student loan until you’ve maximized your federal student loan options.Private student loans are similar to credit card loans.We used companies’ loan calculators, called their customer service agents (listening to the same 30 seconds of Vivaldi while on hold gets old fast) and read as much of the fine print as we could (there was a lot).Here’s what we found: Loan Limits Every student loan, whether federal or private, has a borrowing limit.Federal Student Loans The federal government has a robust set of loans that can help students make college more affordable.Federal loans generally have lower, fixed interest rates and can give borrowers more options than private companies to repay the loans.Before you go to a private bank or lender, though, it’s important that you take advantage of all the resources offered by the federal government.
You might need private student loans to fill the gap between federal loan funds and the actual costs of college attendance.
The first place you should look for help paying for school is scholarships and grants. If you’ve maximized those opportunities, see if your college offers a work-study program.