4 Tips to Finding your First Student Loan

Starting your search for student loans can be a daunting task, but it’s a good feeling when you’ve found your first. Here are 4 tips for how to find student loans.

Scabble letters put together to spell out "search."

Think About Federal vs Private Loans

Your first stop in the student loan process should be the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This will give you the best starting point with low-interest rates and options when it comes to repayment. However, the loans from the federal government may not be enough to cover all your college expenses.

This is where private loans come in. They’re a great option, but you’ll want to do your research and investigate the options available before jumping in.

Talk To Your Parents

If you just graduated from high school or are a senior, you will most likely need your parents’ information for the FAFSA. This includes general information about them, but also their income. You will need their assistance when filling out the forms online. There will also be loans just for parents available through the Department of Education.

If you’re in need of private loans, you will most likely require your parents or guardian to co-sign the paperwork. Most students don’t have the income or credit score required for these. It’s important to broach this subject with them now ahead of time, in case it becomes a need down the line.

Sallie Mae logo.

3 Repayment Options

Variable rates from 6.37% - 16.70% APR with auto-debit

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Do Your Research

As with your prospective college search, doing your research for student loans is an absolute must. This article is a great starting point and you’ll find many others on the subject throughout College Raptor, but you will absolutely want to look deeper into the subject. You should understand the difference between unsubsidized and subsidized loans from the federal government, how interest rates work for private loans, and all the options available to you and your family.

Also, do your research into your school’s potential loans. Many colleges and universities offer grants, scholarships, and loans that are granted either through their own applications or FAFSA. This is why FASFA is essential to fill out, even if you don’t actually need loans for the federal government. You don’t want to miss out on the possible awards.

Know What to Expect Afterward

The second part of your research includes knowing what to expect when your student loans come due. Some loans will require repayment to begin immediately, but others will only come due after you’ve either graduated or left school. Make sure to investigate exactly how you will repay them, when they’ll come due, and options available when it comes to consolidating and refinancing. This information will come in handy when it comes time to choose which loans you will accept.

It’s important to understand the ins and outs of applying for student loans and also what to expect before you complete any forms, whether it be for federal or private loans. Research is one of the most vital aspects of this time period. If you need assistance with finding student loans, make sure to either talk to the financial aid center at your prospective college or your high school’s guidance office.

Use College Raptor’s brand new Student Loan Finder to discover personalized private loan options! Compare lenders and interest rates to find student loans right for you!


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Citizens logo.
6.98%-15.04%* Variable
5.99%-14.00%* Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Sallie Mae logo.
6.37% - 16.70% Variable
4.50% - 15.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
4.98% - 16.85% Variable
4.07% - 16.49% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
6.07% - 11.31% Variable
4.39% - 10.39% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
6.24% - 15.85% Variable
4.29% - 15.76% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
6.54% - 11.08% Variable
3.95% - 8.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
5.62% - 18.26% Variable
4.11% - 15.90% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
4.98% - 12.79% Variable
8.42% - 13.01% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.

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