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Finding and Comparing Student Loans 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

For many of you, taking out student loans is a necessary part of going to college. You're probably already receiving letters and e-mails from student lenders, highlighting the "benefits" of their student loan program. It's no easy task sorting through all your options.

Which Student Loan is Best

Navigating your way through the maze of private student loan options can be difficult, even if you're a math genius. One lender is offering you money back when you graduate. Another lender lowers your interest rate if you set up bill payment by auto-debiting your bank account. How do you decide which student loan is best for you?

Student Loan Marketplace

It just so happens that now has a tool to help you make apples-to-apples comparisons of Stafford, PLUS, and Private loans. It can be difficult to compare loans that may have different interest rates, origination fees, and borrower benefits. Student loans have lots of moving parts and figuring out which option is better for you can be a dizzying task.

Our Student Loan Marketplace makes it easy for you to find a whole bunch of loan options in one place and then compare them side-by-side. We even help you make sense of all the ins and outs by providing a single number called a Loan Cost Index that you can use to make comparisons about which loan may be the best for you.

What is the Loan Cost Index?

Our Loan Cost Index gives you a quick sense of how costly a loan is (in today's dollars). Think of it as kind of like a price tag for a student loan, the lower the number the better. We want to help you become a bargain hunter when it comes to student loans.

Let's walk you through a quick example. You select a student loan with a Loan Cost Index of 125. That means that for every $100 in student loans that you take out, you will be repaying $125 (in today's dollars). Our Loan Cost Index takes into account the interest rate of the loan, any borrower benefits for the student loan, and any upfront fees as well as other factors like in-school and grace periods.

The Loan Marketplace also lets you customize the results. If you want to exclude all borrower benefits, you can. If you plan on making interest payments for your private loan while in school, that's possible, too.

The Loan Marketplace is intended to help you make good decisions when it comes to picking the best student loan for you and your parents.

A Word of Advice about Student Loans

One thing we hope you keep in mind before you start your search for private loans, make sure you take advantage of more affordable funding options first. That includes, searching for scholarships and taking advantage of federal loan programs like Stafford loans. Once you've done that, you're ready to turn your attention to private loans.

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