Credible is a student loan company that was founded in San Francisco in 2012 by CEO and Australian native, Stephen Dash. The idea for Credible sprouted from Dash's response to American student debt and how much of a toll it takes on students. Credible strives to provide students multiple lenders and rates to help them choose their financial future.
Sallie Mae is a student loan company that started as a government sponsored enterprise in 1972 under the name "The Student Loan Marketing Association" with "Sallie Mae" as a nickname. Sallie Mae focuses on offering private education loans for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. They also strive to offer various banking products as well as college savings opportunities.
Discover has been offering private student loans since 1960 and currently lends to students in all 50 states. The company believes in responsible borrowing and encourages students to maximize scholarships, grants, and other free financial aid before taking private loans. However, for students who do need to take out loans, Discover offers a number of options, including undergraduate loans, graduate loans, MBA loans, health professions loans, law loans, residency loans, bar exam loans, and consolidation loans, as well as a quick application process.
College Ave is a student loan company founded by former Sallie Mae executives Joe Depaulo and Tim Staley in 2014. According to their website, the founders of College Ave"learned from other complicated lending companies and decided to make getting a private student loan for college better." College Ave strives to provide loan options for undergraduate and graduate students as well as parents.
ReliaMax introduced its Connext Private Student Loan solution in August 2016. Connext is designed to help students find lenders to refinance their student loans;or lend them new undergraduate or graduate student loans; however, rather than directing the students to big banks, Connext directs students to private loan lenders or smaller regional banks. Connext creates an opportunity for the students to be connected with more loan lenders, and the lenders can take the advantage of being more available to the students.
iHelp is a subsidiary of Student Loan Finance Corporation, which has been around since 1978. Since 2009, iHelp has been pairing borrowers with community banks that can lend the money to students for their loans. In the last couple of years the company has expended to all 50 states to help the borrowers to refinance their existing students loans with local community banks.
College is stressful enough without having to worry about a growing mountain of debt — and student debt is still on the rise. Unfortunately, money is something we must consider every day of adulthood. Student loans were created to alleviate the pressure of pre-career debt and help students focus on their studies before entering the workforce. The difficult part is weighing the pros and cons of each individual student loan company.
According to The Student Loan Report, the national average of student loan debt for 2016 was $17,126. Additionally, the report pointed out that students in Utah graduated from college with an average of $7,545 while students in New Hampshire graduated with an average of $27,167 in student loan debt. Though these numbers are uncomfortably high, they do give us insight into how to handle the question of whether a college degree merits going into debt.
Research your state and desired colleges in order to determine which student loan company to pick. Make sure you research the average tuition, loan debt, and out-of-college salary in your state. For example, if you live in Utah and discover that the average out-of-college salary for your major or career field is $45,000, then you can look at Utah’s average student loan debt ($7,545) and know you will have a lot of options to choose from. You may even decide, at this point, to pay your way through college without getting a loan. Usually, getting through college without a student loan would only be possible in states like Utah or Wyoming. On the other hand, if you live in a state with a high average tuition and student loan debt (like New Hampshire), you may want to be much more selective about which student loan company you choose.
You can get a loan from a private student loan company or you can get federal loans. The benefits of each are complex, but for the sake of simplifying the two options, private student loan companies can usually provide much higher loans while federal student loans tend to be more forgiving. Whatever you decide, you should try applying for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA helps colleges determine your need for financial aid, and provide you with options for grants, loans (private loan companies included), or work-study opportunities. The best part about FAFSA is that it gives you a chance to get grants, which you don’t have to pay back; it basically pays part of your tuition for you.
When you decide that you need the help of private student loan companies, there are specific things you should find out before choosing one. Does the loan carry fees? Is the loan interest rate fixed or variable? When does the interest begin to accrue? Does the loan company offer any sort of grace period? Does repayment start immediately? Can you and should you have a cosigner? The more information you learn about a student loan company, the more equipped you will be to choose the perfect company for you.