Oklahoma residents graduate with some of the lowest student loan debt in the country, according to a 2017 ValuePenguin report. But that doesn’t mean student loans aren’t a burden for those who have them.
Whether you’re planning to attend college in the state or you’ve already graduated, there are a few different options for tackling your Oklahoma student loans.
Federal student loan options in Oklahoma
If you’re on your way to college in Oklahoma, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your award letter will detail how much money you’ll get in grants, scholarships, and federal loans. The amount you receive is based on the information you provide in your FAFSA.
The Oklahoma Student Loan Authority (OSLA) is the nonprofit company that handles Oklahoma student loans. It acts as a middleman for borrowers and the Department of Education. If you live in Oklahoma and have federal student loans, you might already be familiar with OSLA.
Private student loan options in Oklahoma
The money you receive from grants, scholarships, and federal loans might not be enough to cover the cost of college. You might need a private student loan to cover the cost of school and other expenses.
Once you receive your award letter, you’ll know how much aid you qualify for. If there’s any funding gap, getting a private student loan can help cover your additional expenses.
Private student loans are offered by individual lenders, rather than the federal government. If you’re a student with little or no credit, you might need a cosigner to get a private student loan.
OSLA can help keep you on track
OSLA is more than just the middleman for collecting student loans for the Department of Education. They also keep borrowers in check so they don’t miss payments or fall behind. For example, OSLA contacts you in the event of a federally declared natural disaster to give you forbearance options for your student loans.
OSLA will also contact you if you’re having trouble staying current on payments. Borrowers are offered different options based on their financial needs. But the goal is to keep borrowers from defaulting on student loans.
OSLA also offers student loan forgiveness programs, disability discharge options, and consolidation.
How to refinance in Oklahoma
Student loan refinancing can help with student loan debt because it can reduce your interest payments and lower your monthly payments. Through refinancing, you can choose a new repayment term, such as a five, 10, or even 20-year plan. A longer repayment period will mean lower monthly payments, but it will take longer for you to pay off your loan.
Keep in mind that if you refinance your federal loans with a private lender, you will lose most federal student loan protections. Lenders will also do a soft credit check on you. This alone won’t hurt your credit but other things will, such as continually making late payments on your new loan.
Not everyone is a good match for refinancing. It’s important to see if you qualify and if it makes sense for your financial situation. If you do decide to move forward, there are a few refinancing options to choose from.
Student Loan Refinancing Calculator
Getting Oklahoma student loans that are right for you
It’s best to take advantage of all the free money you can before applying for student loans. But it’s OK if you need to take out a loan. If you’re short on money to pay for college, getting Oklahoma student loans might even be necessary.
With the help of OSLA and other agencies, you should have plenty of resources to borrow money and pay it back in a smart way. It’s better to take loans out now so you aren’t worried about paying for college while you’re in school.
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