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The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a nonprofit loan authority that has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. RISLA is a state-based agency that refinances student loans and lends money to students and parents for college. The company offers consumer-friendly benefits, including free admissions and financial aid assistance through the College Planning Center of Rhode Island, free internship finder, and financial literacy guidance to high schools and colleges throughout the State of Rhode Island.

The Good

  • Transparency
  • Student Assistance Page 
  • Rewards Program

Transparency

RISLA offers the same fixed rates for all loan borrowers. If you want to start repaying your loan right away RISLA will offer 3.99 percent fixed loan rate. Also, you have the option to start repaying your loan six months after you leave the school at 5.74 percent fixed rate. RISLA could potential offer better interest rates to borrowers whose credit score ranges at 680, where as other lenders will offer inserts rates based on your credit history.

Student Assistance Page

RISLA offers assistance to all borrowers based on the questions or concerns they might have. Customers can contact RISLA via email, phone, and even mail for the questions they might have the loan or disbursement processes. Also, separate contact information is provided for the borrowers that might have questions regarding statements, payments, and fully disbursed loans.

Rewards Program

RISLA offers rewards program to help the borrowers to save even more money. You have an option to earn $2,000 in loan forgiveness credit on your non-federal RISLA loans for completing an eligible internship. Also, borrowers who become nurses in Rhode Island pay zero interest on their loans for up to four years. If you have a degree in nursing and also have the desire to teach nursing in licensed nursing college in Rhode Island, you could get up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness. And that is not all: physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants can earn thousands of dollars in loan forgiveness for working in Rhode Island.

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The Bad

  • Eligibility Restrictions
  • Fewer Protections than Federal Loans

Eligibility Restrictions

RISLA student loans are available only to Rhode Island residents who go to school either in Rhode Island or elsewhere, and to students at Rhode Island colleges. So a Utah resident who goes to school in California won't qualify.

Fewer Protections than Federal Loans

While RISLA is more borrower-friendly than many private lenders, it still doesn't offer the same level of protection that federal loans do. With a RISLA loan you can't access the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which will forgive your loan balance after 120 payments if you work in a qualifying public service job.

The Bottom Line

RISLA offers college loans to students and their parents who are either Rhode Island residents or who plan to attend school in the state. Unfortunately, you can't take a loan out from RISLA if you are from a different state or do not desire to attend college in Rhode Island; however, the residents of Rhode Island will enjoy this private loan lender if they are looking for a lender that offers outstanding student assistance and rewards program.

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