Online Student Loan Guide: Overview of Options

When looking for guidance on student loans, two helpful resources include the websites of the U.S. Department of Education and the College Board.

Overview of Helpful Online Student Loan Resources and Guides

Many reputable sites guide students and parents through the student loan process. These sites are often operated by such organizations as the U.S. Department of Education and educational associations like The College Board. The information found through these resources ranges from how to apply for student loans to tips on reducing the costs associated with getting a college education.

U.S. Department of Education

On the U.S. Department of Education's website, students and parents can find an overview of the different types of loans available, including the Federal Perkins loan, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans and Direct PLUS loans. For each loan, the site provides critical information, including:

  • Who can apply for the loan
  • Annual borrowing limits
  • Requirements to apply
  • Interest rates
  • Repayment information

The U.S. Department of Education website also offers valuable general information about taking out loans. For instance, students can learn about:

  • Loan conditions and requirements, such as credit history and financial need
  • Loan consolidation
  • Cost reduction
  • Postponing or canceling loan repayments
  • How to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form

The College Board

Much of the same information found on the U.S. Department of Education's website can be found on The College Board's website; however, The College Board provides more in-depth information about the loan process. Students and parents not only get an overview of the different types of loans, but they can also find information on how loans differ and how to decide what type of loan is best for them. Need-based and non-need-based loans are compared, as are federal, private and state loans. Individuals can explore the difference between student and parent loans.

The site also focuses on private education loans available from colleges, universities, banks and private foundations and organizations. Other general information available includes:

  • How to stay in touch with a college's financial aid office
  • What happens after students have been awarded a loan
  • How to evaluate financial aid award letters
  • Tips on borrowing money for college

Two of the most valuable guides to student loans are provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the College Board.

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