Kansas is known as “Midway, U.S.A.” — a fitting nickname since the state smack-dab in the middle of the country. It’s also in the middle of all states when it comes to student loan debt.
Kansas is No. 25 in the nation for students graduating four-year colleges with debt, according to The Institute for College Access & Success. The average debt for graduates is $28,776.
While it’s not ideal, taking out loans can be necessary for your college education. Here’s how to get the best Kansas student loans or refinance the loans you have.
Kansas student loans
Before you can take out any loans, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is your ticket to federal grants and scholarships, but you might not get enough money to cover all your costs. In that case, you have the option to get two types of student loans: federal and private.
Federal student loans
There are a few options for federal student loans, most notably Direct Subsidized Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Subsidized loans are based on financial need, while unsubsidized loans are available to any student. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest while you’re in school, but subsidized loans don’t start building interest until you graduate. Keep that in mind as you’re browsing through different loan opportunities.
Federal loans are a good option because they offer some of the best terms. Interest rates usually are low, and the government offers helpful perks such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.
Private student loans
Your financial aid award letter tells you how much money you’re getting in grants, scholarships, and federal loans, but you might still come up short to pay for college costs. Private student loans can a helpful option when you’re trying to afford college.
Companies issue private student loans while the U.S. government distributes federal student loans. There are many lenders vying for your business, so it’s good to compare private student loan options before applying.
In addition to online lenders, you can look for other sources. Financial institutions in Kansas such as the Mainstreet Credit Union offer private student loans as well as perks such as a 30-day return policy if you find a better loan option elsewhere. Contact your local bank or credit union branch to see if they offer private student loans.
Kansas student loan forgiveness options
If you’re a Kansas college graduate, you might be able to find forgiveness options. You might qualify for federal student loan forgiveness.
But if you don’t, here are some Kansas state forgiveness programs you could use.
Rural Opportunity Zones Student Loan Repayment program
Kansas will pay you to live and study in the state through the Rural Opportunity Zones Student Loan Repayment program. The 77 counties zoned for this program offer state income tax waivers for up to five years and/or student loan repayments of up to $15,000 over five years.
As long as you can prove your residency, outstanding student loan balance, and degree, you can qualify for this repayment program.
Kansas State Loan Repayment Program
If you’re a U.S. citizen with student loan debt that hasn’t reached default status, you might be eligible for the Kansas State Loan Repayment Program. It provides loan repayment help to health care providers in the state.
If you fulfill the requirements, you can receive up to $25,000 per year for up to two years.
Kansas Bridging Plan
The Kansas Bridging Plan offers at least $26,000 in student loan forgiveness to physicians who do residency programs in the state. You must agree to practice medicine full time in an eligible rural community for three years after you complete your residency program.
How to refinance Kansas student loans
If you’ve graduated and aren’t sure how you’ll pay back your student loans, consider refinancing. Refinancing your student loans will replace all your student loans with one loan. Doing this might lower your monthly payments and interest rate, though make sure you’re aware of any federal repayment options you might lose access to.
Research your options and review all the terms of your choice. Go over interest rates, repayment terms, and the amount you’ll be able to afford to pay with this new setup. Don’t take on anything until you’re sure you can pay it back.
Which Kansas student loans are right for you?
Student loans are a good option if you can’t cover the gap in college costs out of pocket. They’re a key resource to ensure you’ll not only be able to pay for tuition and books, but also for transportation, food, and other expenses.
If you do need to borrow money, take all your options into account, whether they’re loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders. Repaying your loans on time every month can boost your credit score. And loans can be helpful, especially if they can help achieve your academic dreams.
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