Student Loans: Separating the Good From the Bad

With the cost of college skyrocketing, some students have been tempted to look into private loans with enticing repayment options – like checks in your mailbox in just a week – to get them through.

But the key to choosing the right student loan is always knowing that the better the debt, the better the tool. Federal loans should always be option number one because of their lower interest rates and more flexible repayment plans. Astrive loans, for instance, are private and backed by SunTrust Bank. If you check the fine print you’ll see that they are variable rate loans, and that’s a big no-no.

These loans are marketed with the option of “immediate repayment,” which means you can start making interest-only payments as soon as 45 days after you get the money. They bill this as the option that allows for the maximum savings over the life of the loan, but who’s taking out a loan that they are able to pay back in less than two months? And when you graduate, your interest-only turns into paying principal and a shocker of a bill.

Student loans are great, don’t get us wrong. You just have to know the difference between a good loan and a not-so-good one. For all you college students, think of it as knowing the difference between Natty Light and Milwaukee’s Best.