If you choose to explore private loans, you should take care to fully understand the terms that you are offered. Private loans may not offer borrower protections and alternative repayment options like income-based repayment and forgiveness programs that Federal student loans do. Here's a list of factors to consider when comparing private loans:
- Interest rate: Fixed? Variable? Terms of variable rate?
- What are the fees?
- When must I start repaying the loan?
- What is the total cost? What is the repayment period?
- What happens if I suffer financial hardship?
- Is this a reputable loan program?