College student loans are three simple words with the unique ability to strike fear and confusion into the minds of parents and students from around the world. Fear not, with some careful planning and a little research you will be well on your way to successfully funding your upcoming college journey. College student loans seem overwhelmingly daunting to the soon to be college freshman but by the time you are a sophomore these winding financial paths will seem old hat and frankly quite merely tedious.
College student loans come with keywords such as interest rates, consolidation, Sallie Mae, Citibank, and FAFSA. Although FAFSA is not a student loan it is indeed the place to begin when seeking a college student loan since most times it is required before you go any further. FAFSA (otherwise know as a free application for student aid) is a federally funded aid program that will seek out and find what grants and scholarships you qualify for before you must look into any loans at all. The money will be disbursed directly to the school you plan to attend with any leftover funds paid directly to you by check from the college, or you can choose to send it back to the loan as prepayment. You can download and apply for FAFSA by going to http://www.fafsaonline.com/ and it is completely free of charge.
College student loans can be sought through Sallie Mae and its subsidiary Nellie Mae, Citibank, The Stafford Federal Loan, Perkins (which is a low five percent interest loan for students funded federally and paid back directly to your school) and many private lending institutions. There is also a Plus program where parents can borrow at a low rate to help fund their child's continuing education. All of these institutions are quite easily accessed online with a few simple strokes on your keyboard.
College student loans can be consolidated in the future to ease the financial burden of sometimes many thousands of dollars by merging them into one and spreading them over the course of 12 to 30 years thus lowering the monthly debt considerably though legislation and interest rates are due to and expected to change as of July, 1 2006. If you are in a position that it may be time to look at consolidation of your loans now is in fact the time to do so. College student loans will no longer be able to be consolidated after July 1, 2006 during the time that the student is actually attending school. This change is very recent and should not be overlooked while sorting out your funding for the upcoming fall school semester.