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Know Your Loan Options and Assess Your Student Debt When Applying to Graduate School

Loan Options for Graduate Students

Higher education can be funded through a variety of resources, including loans for graduate students. For students who exhibit financial need, Perkins Loans are a viable option. Though debt from Perkins Loans can be excused under some specific situations, this debt must be paid back like most other student loans.

The policies of student loans for graduate students are constantly being amended. Types of repayment and consolidation and interest rates and limits are all changing as the federal budget is altered to affect education. To stay informed about these changes, you can visit the website for the US Department of Education.

Perkins Loans offer low fixed interest rates of only 5%, a 9-month grace period opposed to the average 6-month grace period, and low monthly payments of only $ 40. This type of loan for graduate students allows students to find stable jobs and to become more financially secure after college before they are forced to repay their loans.

The disadvantage of Perkins Loans is the low borrowing limits. Using Perkins Loans, undergraduate students can borrow up to $ 5,500 per year with a maximum borrowing limit of $ 27,500. Graduate students can use Perkins Loans to borrow up to $ 8,000 per year with a maximum borrowing limit of $ 60,000, including any money Perkins loans received as undergraduates. For more information about Federal Perkins Loans, you can visit the website for the US Department of Education.

Though most loans for graduate students must be repaid, some loan options have complete or partial forgiveness. For example, the AmeriCorps program is a common choice for students who are looking for debt forgiveness. This program allows students to work in different locations of the United States. Throughout the year in the program, students can earn up to $ 4,725, which can be applied to paying for education or to paying off debt. Another popular choice for students who are looking for debt forgiveness is the Peace Corps. This program focuses on charity in Third World countries. While students work for Peace Corps, students' loans are deferred, and 15% of the loan is forgiven for each year in the Peace Corps.

Assessing your Student Debt

As the price of higher education has been rapidly increasing, so has the national amount of student debt. Funding student loans has been a recent priority of the government and banks. A law passed in 2007 discouraged private lenders from consolidating student loans, which caused problems for students with debt. Lenders do not want to consolidate debt, but students need to save on interest and to have lower monthly payments. There are now services designed to help students in these situations.

For example, GL Advisor is a financial advisory firm that offers students accurate and free assessments of their student debt. After students provide information about their student loan debt, GL Advisor overviews students' loan histories and examines specific repayment plans and possible qualifications for federal programs that provide debt relief. After using GL Advisor to assess their debt and to create repayment plans, students can choose to keep GL Advisor for a service fee. GL Advisor will help students create financial plans, assess qualifications for federal aid, refinance student loans and organize tax returns.

Once student debt has been accurately assessed, the next step should be to minimize the overall cost of the debt by applying for loan forgiveness or consolidation. Minimizing the overall cost of the student debt can lower monthly payments, allowing students to save more each month. However, the best way to eliminate debt is forgiveness through service or government programs.

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