Student Loan Advice

Student Loan Advice

Student Loan Advice

Published June 22, 2022 | Last Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 08:35 am

Student Loan Advice

Loans can help students cover college funding gaps. If your student has already accepted all scholarship and grant opportunities and still needs a loan, sit down together and review this important student loan advice. 

1. Before taking out a private loan, maximize your full federal loan eligibility. 

Federal Student Loans have low fixed rates and more flexible repayment plans. They can also be taken out without a cosigner. We always recommend using your full federal eligibility before considering any private student loans.

2. Borrow only what you need and can reasonably afford to pay back. 

Be sure to use a student loan calculator prior to applying for loans to see what your payments would be. Create a budget and stick to it in school to prevent over-borrowing.

3. Before freshman year begins, make a plan for the four-year cost of your education. 

You may not be able to see the big picture when you’re applying for loans year-to-year. Consider the total debt you’ll be taking on over the course of your degree.

4. Student loans can’t be used to pay for everything. 

Schools will process a private loan up to the total cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid. Non-educational expenses, such as entertainment, cannot be covered by loans.

5. You’ll owe more than you borrow. 

The loan amount that is disbursed to the school will look different than the total loan you pay back after graduation. That’s because there can be loan disbursement fees and interest will accrue on the loans (except for the federal subsidized loan) while you’re in school.

6. Pay what you can while in school. 

You can make payments on your loans while still enrolled. Doing so can help prevent the interest from growing on your loan balance.

7. Loan repayment doesn’t begin immediately after college graduation. 

Federal loans have a six-month grace period. During the grace period, no payments are required. Most private lenders also offer a grace period, but the length depends on the terms.

8. There are advantages to using automatic payments. 

Many private lenders will offer a discount on interest if you sign up for their auto-debit service. The most common auto-debit discount is .25% off the interest. It may not seem like much, but the savings will add up over the repayment period.

9. You can refinance student loans. 

Be certain to check refinance rates with lenders after you graduate. By refinancing, you could qualify for a lower interest rate, saving you money during the repayment process. If they aren’t lower at that time, continue to check back with lenders as interest rates can change weekly.

10. A longer loan repayment period means you’ll be paying more. 

Be aware: the longer it takes to repay your loan, the more interest you’ll need to pay. Use a student loan calculator to see the difference in the total loan amount you’re paying back based on the number of years in your repayment term. You’ll see that as you increase the length of the repayment period, the total loan amount also increases.

A well-informed student makes smarter choices. When you work together to research loan options, you’ll not only help them with one of the most important financial decisions of their lives, but set an example for how to handle their finances in the future. 

Here’s a list of our recommended lenders:

LenderCo-Signer ReleaseRepayment OptionsTermInterest Rates
Yes- Flat Payment (In-School)
- Full (principal & interest)
- Deferred
- Interest-only
5, 8, 10, 15 years4.22% - 17.99% (Fixed)
5.59% - 17.99% (Variable)
Check Rate
Yes- Deferred
- $25 Minimum Amount
- In-School Interest Only
5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years3.79% - 15.41% (Fixed)
5.99% - 15.85% (Variable)
Check Rate
Red circle with sallie mae written in the center YesIn school payment options
- Pay now or later: Make interest payments
- Pay a fixed $25 payment
- Defer payments until after school
-Undergraduate loan rates displayed. Lower interest rates shown include the auto debit discount.
10-15 years4.19% - 14.83% APR (Fixed)
5.74% - 15.86% APR (Variable)
Check Rate
SofiYes- Immediate repayment
- Interest-only
- Fixed monthly payments in school
- Fully deferred
5, 7, 10, 15 years4.15% – 14.83% (Fixed)
5.74% – 15.86% (Variable)
Check Rate
Yes- Full payments (Principal and Interest)5, 10, 15 yearsAs low as 3.99% (Fixed)
As low as 6% (Variable)
Check Rate
- Deferred
- $25 Minimum Amount
- In-School Interest Only
5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years8.65% - 14.51% (Fixed)
9.08% - 14.95% (Variable)
Check Rate


Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

How Do Student Loans Work: Guide to Federal, State, and Private College Loans

How to Avoid Student Loans: How Parents Can Help

Are Interest Free Student Loans Available?




In this article:

Upcoming Events

Similar Articles for You

Dear Roadie: Should I Get A Second Job So My Daughter Can Graduate Debt-Free?


Dear Roadie: Should I Get A Second Job So My Daughter Can Graduate Debt-Free?

Dear Roadie, I am flabbergasted at the cost of college today. My daughter is a stellar student, and the last...

Dear Roadie: Do Parents Need to Become College Admission Experts? I’m So Lost


Dear Roadie: Do Parents Need to Become College Admission Experts? I’m So Lost

Dear Roadie,  I’m the mother of a 10th-grader, and I’m realizing I need a crash course in college admissions. I...

Dear Roadie, My Son Returned From Orientation Hating the College He Chose. What Now?


Dear Roadie, My Son Returned From Orientation Hating the College He Chose. What Now?

Dear Roadie, I’m a bit freaked out. My son returned from his two-day college orientation and said he hated everything:...

Become a Member

At Road2College you’ll find everything you need to make the admissions and paying for college process less stressful and more transparent.


Explore R2C Insights™ — your source for finding affordable colleges and merit scholarships.


Get coaching on admissions and college financing.


Join Road2College where parents and experts work together to inform and inspire college-bound families.