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Rates going up on federal student loans beginning July 1

Mini graduation cap on US money -- education costs

On average, undergraduates took out $4,060 in unsubsidized federal Stafford loans in 2015-16, according to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of strategy for Cappex.com. The average annual amount was $3,727 for undergraduate subsidized federal Stafford loans.

The July 1 rate hike does not apply to private student loans

Typically, federal student loans are the best first bet. But college loan experts note that parents who have very good or excellent credit might want to review private parent loans that are less expensive than the federal parent PLUS loan but often more expensive than the federal Stafford loan for students.

“For undergraduate students, the interest rates on federal Stafford loans are among the lowest,” said Kantrowitz, of Cappex.com.

He noted that private student loans and private parent loans may be competitive with the Federal Parent PLUS and Federal Grad PLUS loans, if the borrower or cosigner has excellent credit.

Lenders in the private student loan market continue to roll out different programs and pitches.

Kevin Walker, head of education loans for Lending Tree, said there are more new lenders in student lending this year than in nearly a decade.

He noted that private student loans have an annual percentage rate that runs roughly in a range of 3% to 9%, depending on creditworthiness.


 Sallie Mae’s new MBA graduate student loan offers fixed rates ranging from 5.74% to 8.56%. The rates for a variable loan product for MBA students range from 3.12% to 8.09%.

Sallie Mae’s new Health Professions graduate student loan, which applies to more than 25 health professions, offers a fixed rate ranging from 5.74% to 8.56%. And the variable product for health profession-related loans ranges from 3.12% to 8.09%.

The Sallie Mae dental and medical school loan applies to students in 14 different areas, including radiology, sports medicine and veterinary medicine. That loan has a fixed rate of 5.75% to 8.36% and variable rates ranging from 3.12% to 7.9%. Sallie Mae added a new extended 20-year repayment term for dental and medical school borrowers who wanted more flexibility.

The Sallie Mae grad school loans have other features, as well. Borrowers may apply to have their cosigner released from the Sallie Mae grad school loan after they graduate and once they have made 12 on-time principal and interest payments and meet other credit requirements.

Private student loans are credit-based and underwritten. Lenders evaluate the borrower’s stability, ability and willingness to repay. One’s creditworthiness will influence whether you receive a lower or higher rate.

Student borrowers in some cases turn to a cosigner to obtain a lower rate on private student loans.




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