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Michigan students graduate from college with a lot of debt.
In fact, 63% of those who completed four-year programs at state or private universities have debt, and the average amount owed is a whopping $30,852, according to data on the Class of 2016 from the Institute for College Access and Success.
While investing in your education is often a smart long-term move, it’s important to ensure you take out the right loans if you need them, and that you have the best plan for repayment after graduation.
Keep reading to learn about your choices for Michigan student loans, plus refinancing and consolidation options if you already have student debt.
Federal student loans
For most Michigan students, obtaining federal student loans is the best way to pay for your education. Federal student loans come with important borrower protections and provide help with repayment to those who need it.
For example, if you work in a qualifying public service job, it’s possible to erase some of your loan balance through Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Or if your income is too low to cover the Standard Repayment Plan amount, you can hop on to an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. These plans cap your payments and eventually offer loan forgiveness.
There are a few different federal student loan options to consider, including:
- Direct Subsidized Loans: Undergraduates who demonstrate financial need are eligible for these loans. The government pays your interest charges while you’re in school and during deferment and your grace period.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Regardless of financial need, undergraduates and graduate students can qualify for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. You’re responsible for all interest charges on your unsubsidized loan.
- Direct PLUS Loans: These loans are available to parents and grad students. Unlike Direct Loans, your credit matters in determining whether you qualify for a loan. More specifically, you must not have an adverse credit history to qualify.
To apply for any federal loans, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA.
Private student loans
Private student loans are another option for Michigan students.
You can typically borrow more money through private lenders than from the government. But private loans can be difficult to qualify for unless you have good credit and proof of income. Many students need cosigners to obtain private student loans.
You can find private loans from banks, online lenders, and credit unions. Some of these private student loan lenders make it easy to compare rates and terms.
Terms can vary from lender to lender — unlike with federal loans that have standard interest rates — so you’ll need to shop carefully for the right loan for your situation.
While private student loans don’t have all the borrower protections federal loans offer, most do allow you to put loans temporarily into forbearance if you face hardship that prevents you from paying for a period.
You can typically also defer payments on private student loans while in school and for a period after graduation.
Michigan student loans
Michigan doesn’t offer any state-specific loan programs. But the state does have resources available to help with loan repayment.
The MI Student Aid website links to loan repayment resources, as well as to the Michigan Guaranty Agency’s Ombudsman, which investigates complaints related to student loans.
The state also offers the Michigan Tuition Grant, valued at up to $2,000 per academic year. This grant is awarded to needy students attending Michigan nonprofit schools.
The state also offers other scholarships and grants, such as for students who were in foster care or whose parent was killed in the line of duty.
Finally, some loans may be available directly through specific Michigan schools. For example, Michigan State University offers short-term loans to eligible students.
Undergrads could borrow up to $450, graduate students could borrow a maximum of $800, and medical students could borrow up to $1,700. To borrow, students need to show that they could repay the loan within 60 days.
Refinancing or consolidating student loans
Both student loan consolidation and refinancing could help make your Michigan student loans more manageable in repayment. The two options, however, work differently.
The federal government allows you to consolidate eligible federal loans. Doing so combines multiple loans into one big loan. That could make loan repayment easier to manage. Consolidation could also make some loans eligible for IDR, which could lower your monthly payments.
But consolidation won’t lower your interest rate. Instead, the interest rate on your consolidated loan will be based on the weighted average of all the loans you combined, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth percent.
With refinancing, you can take out a new loan with better terms to repay your old debt. Your new loan may have a different repayment period and a lower interest rate than your old loans.
You can refinance both federal and private loans, but all refinancing is with private lenders — the federal government doesn’t have loan refinancing programs. This could mean giving up some borrower protections, such as access to IDR and loan forgiveness.
If refinancing is a good option for you, check out our list of top lenders to refinance student loans and compare interest rates, repayment periods, and other loan terms to find the best option for you.
Repaying Michigan student loans
Finding the right Michigan student loans and making smart choices about refinancing are both important to ensuring your educational debt is affordable.
You also want to explore opportunities for grants and scholarships while going to school so that you can borrow the minimum amount possible and begin your life after graduation with debt payments you can easily handle.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
1 = Citizens Disclaimer.
2 = CollegeAve Autopay Disclaimer: 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.
* 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.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
|3.69% – 10.94%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CollegeAve|
|3.99% – 12.99%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Discover|
|3.82% – 12.82%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Ascent|
|4.12% – 10.98%*3||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SallieMae|
|5.03% – 11.23%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit PNC|
|3.88% – 12.88%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit SunTrust|
|4.68% – 9.77%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit LendKey|
|3.72% – 9.68%||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CommonBond|
|4.04% – 12.01%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit Citizens|