Q: What are some things I should look for or keep in mind when choosing a private student loan for college. Is there a particular lender I should start with, or are all private student loans the same?
A: First, students should always exhaust all of their federal financial aid for college and scholarship opportunities before considering a private student loan for college. When choosing a private student loan for college it’s always good to shop around. Choosing a private student loan lender should not be a task taken lightly, since private student loan lenders are different, and the private student loans they offer can vary. Researching private student loan lenders gives you an opportunity to make sure that you start your financial aid journey with the right partner.
First, look for a private loan lender that offers the terms you need (good rates, fees, and repayment options, etc…), but also make sure this private student loan lender provides great customer service, answers all of your student loan questions, and makes you feel comfortable. If a lender cannot do simple things (i.e. customer service) then it would be doubtful that this is the type of lender you want to be borrowing thousands of dollars from.
When you find a student loan lender you like, try searching the web under the name of the company and the word complaints to see what experiences other borrowers have had. If a company has multiple complaints regarding the same issues, this could be a red flag, however keep in mind that most private student loan lenders will always have a few unhappy customers.
When it comes to private student loans, take your time and do your research. If you find that private student loans are the right option for you, make sure to find a lender that you feel comfortable with, since you will likely be dealing with this lender for quite sometime after graduation.