Are you a student in Indiana looking for help funding your college career? You might qualify for the ISM HELP loan. For ISM, HELP stands for “Hoosier Education Loan Partnership”, and it’s a private loan specifically designed to supplement (not replace) federally funded educational loans for students in Indiana. So, how can you get an ISM HELP loan to help you?
First Apply for Federal Student Aid
Like we just said, the ISM HELP loan isn’t meant to take the place of federal student loans. These loans are still immensely helpful in paying for your college career. The problem today doesn’t lie with the loans, themselves, but with the rising price of tuition. While tuition in Indiana and all over the rest of the country has continued to increase steadily over the last decade, the maximum allowance for student loans hasn’t budged.
Your Stafford loan is supposed to get you started, and your parent’s PLUS loan is supposed to cover everything that your Stafford loan doesn’t. Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite work out for most people these days. However, without those loans, there would be a canyon of financing to fill instead of a (relatively) small gap.
So, before you do anything else, start by going to FAFSA.ed.gov. Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid with all of your income and tax information as well as information about your parents’ financial standing (if you are a dependent student). Once you submit it, this form will be sent to the federal government and to the schools you’re applying to, and the information in it will help them determine how much and what kind of financial aid you qualify for.
Unlike private loans, your federal loans will be awarded to you based on your financial need, not your credit history. Your interest will have a fixed rate, determined as of June 1st the year you apply and dependent on the market, not your credit score. Once you get your Student Aid Report back from the federal government, you’ll know how much of a gap is left to fill, and you can then begin the process of applying for an ISM HELP loan.
Because it’s designed to fill that gap, the ISM HELP loan’s maximum allowance is set at 100% of your tuition and fees minus other financial aid. If you do not have any other financial aid, there is a set maximum, though, and it may not cover all of your costs of attendance. This is why you need to apply for federal financial aid before you look further into the HELP loan.
Applying for HELP
You can apply for the ISM HELP loan online here. When you do, you’ll be able to choose from one of several loan types. You’ll choose between immediate or deferred payments and variable or fixed rate interest. Once approved, you may qualify for a few attractive benefits, as well.
For example, if you qualify for automatic payments, you’ll receive a 0.25% deduction from your interest rate each month. If you graduate more than 90 days but less than six years after the date of your initial disbursement, you can also qualify for a 2% reduction on your principal, as well.
If you needed a cosigner to help you get approved for the ISM HELP loan and/or to get a better interest rate, you can have that person released from your loan after you prove that you can consistently make your monthly payments on time and in full. You can do this as after you complete 48 consecutive monthly payments with no mishaps.
Other Loans and Resources Through ISM
Whether the ISM HELP loan is right for you or not, the ISM Marketplace is full of resources and loans to help Indiana students further their educations without incurring massive debts along the way. Here you can get help mapping out a plan for your future, filling out your FAFSA, and finding other good private loans online, as well.
Through this site, you can do more than just find student loans that you qualify for. You can also compare their rates and benefits to find the best loan for you. You can look for local or national loans, depending on your needs, and you can find quotes on actual rates and terms for each of the loans as you “shop”.
Compare Loans and Save Money
The worst thing you can do for yourself when looking for a private student loan is to just pick the first one that comes along. The more you research the terms, benefits, interest rates, payment plans, and other information about each loan you’re interested in, the better off you’ll be. Loans like the ISM HELP loan are designed with your needs in mind, but not all private loans are created equally. Use the marketplace to find the best one for you.
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.