What Are Student Loan Borrower Protections?

Choosing to borrow money to go to school is a big decision. You may have several loan offers to choose from, many of which may sound very attractive. Before you choose any one loan, however, it is important to make sure you are aware of your rights and the student loan borrower protections available to you. It may seem confusing at first, but that’s no reason to overlook this aspect. Overlooking your protections and rights could have serious consequences after you graduate.

Protections vary greatly depending on if you choose a federal or private loan. No matter which loans you have been offered, make sure you know the terms of the loan and your repayment options before you accept any of them.

Income-Based Repayment Plans

Federal loans come with several options when it comes time to pay them back. If you don’t land a high-paying job straight out of college, don’t fret. You can have your monthly payments calculated based on your income, which can lower them substantially. Also, if your income is within 150% of the federal poverty line, you will not have to make any payments until you start making more money.

There is another option. You can also ask for a one-year economic hardship deferment for up to 3 years on federal loans. If you have a subsidized Stafford loan, the government will pay the interest during that period. However, if you have took out an unsubsidized loan, the interest will continue to accrue.

Forbearance

Another option is forbearance, which is also available on private loans. Forbearance allows you to stop making payments, but interest will accrue on all loans. In general, the terms are much better on federal loans compared to private loans. If you have a federal loan, you can ask for forbearance every year for up to 5 years, and there are no fees.

For private loans, on the other hand, your forbearance only lasts 3 months. Not only that, you can only get a year total of forbearance. Additionally, you may have to pay fees to get forbearance on a private loan.

What Does This Mean For Me?

Now that you have an idea of student loan borrower protections and your options, you can take another look at your loan offers. This can be especially important if you are taking a private loan. Private loans typically have more severe consequences for borrowers who default. Make sure to read all the terms and conditions, especially the fine print, before you sign the dotted line. Typically, private loans should be your last resort to pay for college. Apply for financial aid, scholarships, grants, and federal loans before turning to private loans.

Taking a student loan is, without a doubt, a big commitment with a lot to think about. On the other hand, it is a great investment in your future. Be smart while taking your student loan and you will reap the benefits without the unnecessary stress.

Use College Raptor’s new Student Loan Finder to discover personalized loan options. Compare lenders and interest rates to find the ideal student loan for you!

Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Earnest company logo.
Variable APR: 1.99%* +
Fixed APR: 2.98%* +
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
Lendkey company logo.
Variable APR: 1.92%* +
Fixed APR: 2.95%* +
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
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Credible company logo.
Variable APR: 2.39%* +
Fixed APR: 2.79%* +
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT CREDIBLE
Laurel road company logo.
Variable APR: 1.89%* +
Fixed APR: 2.80%* +
Undergraduate and Graduate
VISIT LAUREL ROAD
Commonbond company logo.
Variable APR: 2.56%* +
Fixed APR: 2.59%* +
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
VISIT COMMONBOND
Fixed APR: 2.55%* +
Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent PLUS
VISIT IOWA STUDENT LOAN

*APR includes a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments.

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