Dartmouth University is one of the most prestigious schools in the world. But when your student loan payments begin — and you’re still living on ramen so you can pay off your debt — that prestige might seem more like a curse.
The total cost of attendance, including Dartmouth tuition, is $71,409 for the upcoming school year. By the time you complete your degree, you could rack up thousands in loans.
Although you might feel overwhelmed and strangled by your debt, it’s important to understand your loans and repayment options. Here’s everything you need to know to take control of your student loans.
Identify what loans you have
To pay for school, you probably took out several different types of loans. Each loan could have its own terms, so the first step in managing your debt is identifying each one. You need to know your loan servicer, grace period, repayment term, and interest rate.
If you don’t know where to start, there are three ways to get the necessary information:
- Contact Dartmouth’s financial aid office. A financial aid officer will be able to tell you what kind of loans you have and how to locate your loan servicer.
- Search for your loans using the National Student Loan Data System. The NSLDS database is a comprehensive listing of all federal student loans. You’ll find out what federal loans you have, if any, and who services your debt.
- Check your credit report. You can check your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Your report will show all of the accounts that exist in your name, including the companies that own your debt.
Types of Dartmouth student loans
As a graduate of Dartmouth, you might have one or more of the following loans.
Federal Perkins loans
The government issued Perkins loans to only the neediest students. Regulations limited these loans to $5,500 a year or $27,500 for your entire undergraduate career.
The grace period for Perkins loans was nine months. Once that time is over, repayment begins. Your interest rate for recent Perkins loans is 5.00%, and you’ll repay your loans for 10 years.
The Perkins Loan program expired on September 30, 2017. No new Perkins loan will be issued after that date. However, if you already took out a Perkins loan, the loan remains as it is. There are no changes to the loan’s terms or interest rate.
Federal Direct loans
The U.S. Department of Education is the lender for federal Direct loans. There are two forms of Direct loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. With subsidized loans, the government covers your interest charges while you’re in school, which can help you save thousands.
Unsubsidized loans don’t have this perk, so you’re responsible for covering the interest charges yourself. Direct loans have an interest rate of 4.45% and a 10-year repayment term.
Dartmouth Educational Association loan
Funded by alumni donations, the Dartmouth Educational Association loan is a need-based loan. According to Dartmouth’s financial aid handbook, these loans have similar interest rates and repayment terms to Perkins loans. The specifics will be outlined in your promissory note.
Dartmouth Educational Loan Corporation loan
The Dartmouth Educational Loan Corporation (DELC) provides need-based loans to students who need financial aid assistance beyond what the federal government offers. Interest accrues as soon as you take out the loan, but you don’t have to start making payments until three months after graduation.
As of the 2016-2017 school year, DELC loans had an interest rate of 6.80%. The loans have a 10-year repayment term.
Dartmouth student loan for foreign students
International students are often ineligible for federal or private student loans. To help them pay for school, Dartmouth offers need-based loans to foreign students. The interest rate for these loans is 7.00%, and they have a 10-year repayment term.
If you exhausted your federal and school-issued loan options, you might have turned to private student loans to cover the rest of your costs.
Private student loans often have higher interest rates than federal loans, but the actual interest rates and repayment terms may vary. Check with your lender to find out when your repayment begins and how much goes towards interest fees.
Know your repayment options
Dartmouth alumni have a lower than average default rate. More than 7 percent of students nationwide default on their student loans within three years, according to College Factual. But just 1.7 percent of Dartmouth graduates default on theirs.
Although that’s encouraging for your future prospects, those numbers aren’t comforting if you are already struggling to afford your payments. These four options could help make your payments more manageable.
1. Income-driven repayment plans
If you can’t pay the minimum amount due each month, an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan could give you more breathing room.
Under an IDR plan, the government caps your student loan payments at a percentage of your income and extends your repayment term. If you have federal student loans, signing up for an IDR plan can significantly reduce your payments.
However, IDR plans do have some drawbacks. For example, the extended repayment term means you’ll pay much more in interest over the length of your loan. You could end up paying thousands more than you originally borrowed.
You can check out our guide to learn more about IDR plans.
2. Forgiveness programs
Depending on your career path, some or all of your loans might be eligible for forgiveness. For example, if you work for a qualifying non-profit organization or government agency, you could be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Our repayment assistance program tool is a searchable database of over 120 forgiveness programs. You can search by location, occupation, or award amount to find programs that match your situation.
3. Loan consolidation
If you have several different federal loans with varying payments and due dates, it’s easy to lose track of them all. One option that might help is a Direct Consolidation loan. When you apply for a Direct Consolidation loan, you combine all of your federal student loans into one debt with one monthly payment.
Although consolidating your loans can make remembering your payments easier, this process won’t save you money. A Direct Consolidation loan’s interest rate is the weighted average of all of your previous loans, so the consolidated loan’s cost will be similar to your old loans.
However, you can choose to extend your repayment term when you consolidate your loans. With a longer repayment term, you can have a much lower monthly payment. You’ll pay back more in interest over the length of your loan, but if your payments are unaffordable, it can be a smart strategy to stay current on your debt.
4. Student loan refinancing
Dartmouth graduates have a median starting salary of $55,500, which is higher than the national average for college graduates. With a good income, you might be an excellent candidate for refinancing your federal or private student loans.
If the other repayment options don’t help or you’re looking to save money over the length of your repayment, refinancing your student loans can be a wise move. When you refinance, you work with a private bank or organization to take out a new loan for the amount of some or all of your current loans.
The new loan will have a completely different repayment term. Depending on your credit, income, and loan term, you could qualify for a lower interest rate. That means more of your payments would go towards the principal, helping you save money over time.
Our refinancing calculator can help you find out how much you could save by refinancing your loans.
Student Loan Refinancing Calculator
Before proceeding with refinancing, make sure you understand all of the consequences. If you have federal student loans and refinance them with a private lender, you’ll lose out on federal benefits. Some of those benefits are: IDR plans, the ability to enter into deferment or forbearance, and eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Tackling your Dartmouth student loans
Graduating from Dartmouth is a huge achievement that will help propel your career. But if you’re struggling with repaying your student loans, you might find that your payments hold you back. These repayment options can help you overcome your debt.
For ideas on how to get out of debt as quickly as possible, here’s how you can pay off your student loans even faster.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 0318/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.54% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.67% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.43%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|