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When it comes to student debt, Idaho is behind the curve.
- As of the end of 2017, federal Idaho student loans totaled $6 billion shared by 203,600 borrowers, according to the Department of Education.
- Students attending college in the state can expect to graduate with around $27,130 in student debt, which was the average for the Class of 2016, reported the Institute for College Access and Success.
- Idaho came in at No. 36 in our rankings of the best states to repay student debt, meaning borrowers in this state face high student loan balances and payments compared to their earnings.
These numbers underscore the importance for Idaho college students to borrow with care. Finding the best Idaho student loans can go a long way in limiting interest charges and keeping student loan payments affordable.
Here’s what you need to know about getting and refinancing Idaho student loans.
Where to get Idaho student loans
The first step to getting Idaho student loans is understanding the options available to you. Idaho doesn’t have a state-level program to extend loans to college students.
Students in the state can still get institutional loans from Idaho colleges, federal student loans, and private student loans. Here’s what you should know about these types of Idaho student loans.
Student loans from Idaho colleges
Many colleges offer their own financing, such as institutional or emergency student loans.
Sometimes these student loans are openly advertised, as are the University of Idaho student loans listed below. Other times, a student must contact their school’s financial aid office to inquire about student loans offered by the school itself.
Either way, Idaho college students should see if institutional student loans could be an option for them.
Here are some college-provided student loans in Idaho:
- The Benjamin O. Braham Loan has an interest rate of just 3.00% and is offered to current University of Idaho students who graduated from Kellogg High School.
- Vandal loans carry a 5.00% rate. Students enrolled at the University of Idaho should speak with the financial aid office to find out if they qualify.
- Emergency or short-term student loans are offered at many colleges to help cover costs that are due before federal student aid or other funds are disbursed. The University of Idaho, for example, offers short-term emergency loans of up to $600 at a 7.00% interest rate.
Federal student loans
Alongside institutional student loans, you might want to explore federal student loans offered through the Department of Education. Idaho college students who meet federal aid eligibility requirements can get these loans.
Federal student loans are a smart option to finance college, thanks to several benefits:
- Accessibility: There are no credit requirements for undergraduates who need federal student loans.
- Affordability: Federal student loans offer low interest rates and low fees. You might even qualify for Direct Subsidized Loans, for which the government pays your interest while you’re still in school.
- Repayment protections: Borrowers have many options to delay or adjust federal student loan repayment. This includes pausing payments through deferment or forbearance or lowering payments through income-driven repayment.
These benefits make it easy and cost-effective to borrow federal loans. Here are the details, as of June 4, 2018, on federal student loans:
|Type of federal student loan||Who is eligible?||Loan fee||Interest rate|
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Undergraduates with demonstrated financial need||1.066%||4.45%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Undergraduates||1.066%||4.45%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans (graduate students)||Graduate and professional students||1.066%||6.00%|
|Direct PLUS Loans||Graduate and professional students, and parents of undergraduates||4.264%||7.00%|
Private student loans
Some students might need to borrow more student loans than they can get through the federal government. In these cases, private student loans can provide students and their families with the necessary funds for college.
Before applying for private student loans, students should learn about the potential drawbacks.
For instance, private student loans require an applicant to have decent credit to qualify. If you’re like most college students, you’ll need a parent or other student loan cosigner to help you get a private student loan.
You’ll also want to pay attention to costs and terms offered on private student loans:
- Interest rates and fees on private student loans will affect what you pay to borrow. The lower, the better, so try to find lenders with competitive costs.
- Loan lengths on private student loans often range from five to 15 years. Which term you choose will impact both monthly payments and your total loan costs.
- In-school deferment means you don’t have to pay student loans before you graduate. With College Ave, for example, you can choose to defer in-school payments fully, pay $25 a month, or pay interest only until you graduate.
- Borrower protections help you manage your private student loan in repayment. CommonBond, for instance, offers hardship forbearance for their borrowers who encounter a financial setback.
It’s important for students and their cosigners to shop around for private student loans. Check out all available options, from online lenders to credit unions and banks, to be sure you’re getting the best private student loan you possibly can.
Refinancing Idaho student loans
If you’re stuck paying a high interest rate on your student loans, it’s not too late to find a better option. Lowering your interest rate through student loan refinancing is possible.
If you have good credit, a stable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio, you could qualify to refinance your student loans at a lower rate. The best loans to refinance student debt offer interest rates as low as 2.54% for variable rates or 3.15% for fixed rates as of June 4, 2018.
Some risks can come with refinancing student loans. If you refinance federal student loans, for instance, you’ll lose access to federal benefits such as access to different repayment plans and federal student loan forgiveness.
Understand the risks before refinancing Idaho student loans and only do so if you’re confident you can responsibly repay your new debt.
Which Idaho student loans are right for you?
College students in Idaho should try to use scholarships, savings, and other federal student aid before turning to student loans.
If you need to get or refinance Idaho student loans, the information here can help you get started in your search. It’s up to you to choose wisely, so do your research and compare lenders to find the right student loans for you.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2020!
|* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
Information advertised valid as of 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Discover's lowest rates shown are for the undergraduate loan and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
4 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restrictions. Loans are offered through CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS #1175900).
5 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of December 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.70%. Variable interest rates range from 2.80% – 11.06% (2.80% – 10.91% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.72% – 12.19% (4.72% – 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.
Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.
|2.84% – 10.97%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|2.87% – 10.75%*,2||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.80% – 11.37%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.52% – 9.50%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.80% – 11.06%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|