As you plan for your future, you’re no doubt working on the best way to pay for your college career. Every year, the prices of college tuition, fees, and supplies rise, but the caps on federal student loans remain in place. While Stafford loans and parent PLUS loans are supposed to provide enough funding to cover your cost of attendance, that’s just not always the case anymore. As a result, more and more students and parents are turning to private lenders like PNC to help fill the gap between their federal student loans and the full cost of going to college.
Federal Loans vs. Private Loans
First of all, though the funding may be capped, you should still apply for federal student aid. By filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll give the Department of Education all the information they need to determine your level of financial need. Given sufficient financial need, you could be eligible to receive a government grant that you won’t have to pay back after you graduate. You could also qualify for subsidized loans, in which case the government will actually pay the interest on your loan(s) until you graduate and start paying them off.
Federal loans also have fixed interest rates, which are usually preferable to variable interest rates. With a variable interest rate, your monthly payment on your loan could fluctuate from year to year, depending on the economy and its effects on your interest rate. You could start your loan with a 2.7% interest rate the first year, but by the second it could rise to 8.3%.
Thanks to variable interest rates and inflexibility on payment plans, private student loans have a bit of a bad reputation. However, more and more lenders – like PNC – are doing everything they can to change that. Because so many lenders are in the game now, they all have to compete with one another. As a result, we’re seeing more options for fixed interest rates, repayment plans, and other borrower incentives.
Qualifying for Student Loans
Qualifying for federal loans is fairly simple. You just give the government your financial information (including your parents’ information if you’re a dependent student), and then you receive a report notifying you about how much you qualify to receive. Your credit score and credit history are not taken into account with Stafford or Perkins loans, though you do have to pass a credit check to receive a PLUS loan.
Private loans are a different matter, and this scares a lot of students. With a private loan, your application is based almost entirely on your credit history. If you have bad or insufficient credit, you won’t qualify for a loan. If you’re an 18 year-old student, you probably haven’t had a lot of opportunities to build your credit up so far. Fortunately, though, you can get a parent or someone else with good credit to vouch for you and cosign on your loan to gain approval.
So what does PNC Private Student Loans look for when they determine eligibility and interest rates on their loans? On your loan application, you’ll provide two years of employment history, proof of your current income, two years of credit history, and proof of at least two years’ residency in the United States. If someone is cosigning with you, you will use their information for this because it will help you get approved and get a better rate.
Benefits of Working With PNC Private Student Loans
As we said a moment ago, private lenders are getting really competitive with the terms and benefits of their loans. For example, when you work with PNC Private Student Loans and sign up for automatic payments each month, you’ll receive a .5% discount on your interest rate. A lot of other companies only offer 0.25% for this.
Like some other lenders, PNC Private Student loans has also been listening to customers’ complaints about paying on their loans while they’re in school. This has traditionally been one of the biggest drawbacks of using private loans, as federal loans are automatically deferred until a six-month grace period after you leave college has passed.
PNC Private Student Loans now offers deferment on payments on your loan for a few extenuating circumstances, not just college enrollment. If you are enrolled in school at least half-time or any of the following apply to you, you can qualify to pause payments on your loan:
- Military deployment
- Financial hardship
PNC Private Student Loans has worked hard to bring their customers more benefits and to work with them in times of financial hardship. If you lose your job while you’re paying back your student loan, you should not have to worry that you’ll have collections agencies after you while you try to make ends meet. The private student loan industry is changing, and it looks very much like PNC Private Student Loans is ahead of the game.
Compare and Apply for Student Loans TuitionChart.com
TuitionChart.com works hand-in-hand with the best, most trusted names in private student lending to help students and their families find the money they need for college. Through use of comparison tools and loan searches, TuitionChart provides over 20 different loan options for students. TuitionChart.com is designed to help students and their families wend their way through the maze of financial aid information.