Federal and Private Loans for Oregon College Students

FAFSA and Federal Loans: Your First Step to Success

Federal loans should be your first choice when pursuing college funding in Oregon. Federal loans are the most affordable option, they don’t require an extensive credit check, and better yet, almost everyone qualifies for some level of federal aid.

To begin applying, your first step is to complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Here are some guidelines for completing this step of the process:

  • 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.

Here is a brief outline of the federal loans:

  • Stafford loans are the most affordable and most frequently disbursed loan in the country, making them your best-bet when it comes to financial aid. You could qualify for subsidized, unsubsidized or a combination of both. Stafford loans feature a 6-month grace period, flexible repayment plan, and low fixed interest rate.
  • Grad PLUS Loans are designed for graduate students that have reached the lifetime borrowing limit on their Stafford loans, but still need aid to make it through graduate studies. These are especially useful for some programs, like med and law school, which are financially intensive.
  • Parent PLUS Loans give parents of undergrads a bit more affordable financial leverage than a traditional home equity line of credit or second mortgage. These are the only loans that require a credit check, but they feature lower fees and interest rates.

Find out more about federal student loans.

Federal loans and other federal financial aid options should be exhausted before pursuing any other types of loans. Other loans should be a second choice because most often, these other options will take some form of private loans. These private loans are generally less affordable, and the higher interest rates generally make them a risky proposition for many students. Private loans also are credit-based (as opposed to need-based), and many students will require a co-signor because they don’t have the stellar credit score that qualifying for these loans will typically require.

oregon loans

Types of Student Loans Available Specifically for Oregon Students

Oregon students who are looking beyond the conventional federal sources of funding will be looking for either institutional loans or private loans. These two types of loans are closely related, and both will require credit checks and come with higher interest rates than federal options.

They will, however, be a suitable source of funding for many students. The key is to check out all the details with every organization you consider borrowing from, and make sure to find some figures on how much the total cost will be.

Some features to pay attention to are repayment deadlines and interest accrual periods, which are the main difference between student loans and other types of loans.

Institutional loans

Institutional loans refers to loans that are offered by educational institutions to assist their students. Not surprisingly, you’ll need to contact your college or university for more detailed information on the loans that might be available.

Many institutional loans are given first to those students who can demonstrate a financial need for them, and just like private loans, you’ll often need to have good credit.

Private loans

Standard banks like Wells Fargo, SallieMae, SunTrust, and Citi Bank will all offer student loan packages.

As discussed before, you’ll want to shop around, and pay attention to details like when repayment must begin after you leave school, and when interest will begin to accrue on your loan. Read the fine print, and don’t let the details slip by before you sign anything.

The Oregon Student Access Commission is an excellent place to go for assistance in planning for college. The organization helps students prepare for and find the means to pay for the college experience of their dreams.