When you take out a student loan, you have to pay it back with interest. Think of interest as the cost of borrowing money. As you’re applying for a student loan—either federal or private—you’ll come across an interest rate. In fact, the interest rate is one of the most important elements of a student loan. Let’s go over why.
How Interest Rates Work
Interest accrues over the life of the loan. This means even if you do not make any payments while you are still in college, the interest keeps building and will increase the outstanding principal (overall cost) you owe. This also applies if you choose to put your loan payments on hold, like in deferment. The interest is then charged on the higher principal balance, which increases the overall cost of the loan.
The Importance of Student Loan Interest Rates
Because of the way the interest accrues, even a small difference in student loan interest rates can make a huge difference to the total cost of your loan. This is something to keep in mind when shopping for student loans.
When comparing the interest rates on student loans from different lenders, do not dismiss those marginal differences in the rate differences. Even the smallest difference in the interest rate, can have a considerable impact on your overall debt.
College Raptor can help you compare and contrast student loan interest rates from different lenders! Check out our free Student Loan Finder tool.