Idaho State Resources for College Bound Students and Parents

Answers For Higher Education

For college students in The Gem State, The Idaho State Board of Education is your primary resource for initial college financial planning.

Below you will find additional information for staying on track and building an effective strategy for paying for college in Idaho.

First, there are two types of loans available:

  • Federal loans
  • Private loans

One of these two basic types of loans will certainly figure into your Idaho Student Loan plan. But don't forget, Idaho offers many other alternatives in the way of aid - scholarships, grants, work-study and loan repayment programs.

Federal Stafford Loans

Federals Stafford Loans should be considered the first option because they provide low interest rates and the most attractive pay-back plans available in the country.

Pursuing a federal loan involves a fairly simple, step-by-step process that starts with completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Guidelines for this part of the process include the following:

  • Check deadlines for the colleges and universities you're applying to, as well as the official FAFSA deadline. Sometimes these two deadlines are different, so you must be careful to finish your FAFSA before the earliest of the two deadlines.
  • You will also need income and tax information for your immediate household, and possibly your parents' information, before you begin the process.
  • After you've collected your information, visit the FAFSA site and follow the detailed instructions.

After completing the FAFSA and applying for the loans through the FAFSA website, you will also need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). This legal document can be filled online, and it is a written promise that you will repay your federal loan and its accrued interest.

Federal Stafford Loans are the standard loan for which students apply. Stafford Loans come in both subsidized and unsubsidized form. Both are available to most students, and many students choose to accept both types.

Idaho Student Loans

Subsidized loans have the following specific characteristics:

  • You must demonstrate financial need to apply for a subsidized loan.
  • These loans do not accrue interest while you're still enrolled at least half time at a college or university, and after you leave, subsidized loans will have the lowest interest rates possible.
  • Subsidized loans also have the highest available funding limits for students.

Unsubsidized loans are different in the following ways:

  • Unsubsidized loans do not require any financial need.
  • They do, however, start accruing interest while a student is still in school. The interest can be paid immediately, though, to prevent it from being added to the principal of the loan.

Parent PLUS Loans are also another option designed to provide a low-cost financial option for parents of undergraduate students.

PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professionals are another federal loan option. These provide access to the next tier of federal aid when graduate students have reached the lifetime limits on their Stafford Loans.

More information and details on these loans are available through the FAFSA website.

Private Student Loans in Idaho

Because most private student loans tend to offer much higher interest rates, and they also have the tendency to sneak in extra fees that add to the total cost of the loan, they should really be a last resort for financing college.

If you do choose to pursue a private student loans, shop carefully for a lender, and read all the fine print. You want to be very clear on what you're getting into with a private student loan.

For additional details on borrowing money, making a planning schedule, estimating your loan needs and monthly payments in pay back, visit this section of the FAFSA website.