Federal vs. Private Student LoansEmail This Article
Direct Loans, sometimes called Stafford Loans, are federally-funded, fixed-rate student loans available to undergraduate and graduate students. Direct Loans, which can have subsidized or unsubsidized interest, are among the least expensive loans available to students who need to borrow money for college.
When your financial aid package falls short of your needs, you may want to consider supplementing your federal student loans with a private student loan.
|Private Student Loans||Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans|
|Lender||Bank, credit union, financial institution, state agency, or college/university||U.S. Department of Education|
|Loan Limits||Full cost of attendance minus other financial aid received||Subject to annual and lifetime loan limits|
|Cosigner Required?||Yes, unless borrower has a strong credit history||No|
|Loan Fees||Typically 0% to 5%, depending on lender and borrower credit||4.30% (Oct. 1, 2019 - Sept. 30, 2020)|
|Repayment Plans||Vary by lender||Many options available, including plans based on income|
|Suspending Repayment||Typically 1 year of forbearance, depending on lender||3 years of deferment and 3 years of forbearance available, if eligibility requirements are met|
|Cancelling Repayment||Very limited options||Multiple forgiveness and discharge options available|