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Student loan debt plagues college students nationwide. Among Class of 2016 graduates, the average student loan balance was $37,172.
But students from Mississippi who graduated in the same year had an average $29,384 in student debt, according to The Institute for College Access & Success. Even though that’s nearly 21% below the national average, it’s still a lot.
Knowing your options for getting the best rates for your Mississippi student loans is important. You could minimize your debt and make repayment easier. Here’s what you need to know.
Mississippi student loans
While scoring as much free money as possible through scholarships and grants is ideal, Mississippi residents can tap into federal student loans to pay for college. The Department of Education can help fund your education through federal loan options. These loans tend to have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options compared to private student loans.
Here’s what’s available:
|Loan type||Details||Interest rates|
|Direct Subsidized||You’ll have to prove financial need to qualify for this loan. But if you do, the government will pay the interest while you’re still in school and for the first six months after you graduate.||4.45%|
|Direct Unsubsidized||You can qualify even if you don’t have financial need. However, you’re responsible for all interest charges.||4.45% for undergraduates and 6.00% for graduate and professional students|
|Direct PLUS||This loan is available to graduate and professional students and parents of undergraduate students. Credit history is considered for qualification, and interest accrues from the date of disbursement.||7.00%|
Private student loans
Even if you’ve secured some scholarships and federal loans, you might have an education funding gap. That’s when you could consider private student loans.
Unlike with federal options, private loans aren’t issued by the government. Instead, they’re offered by private lenders, such as a bank or credit union. That means eligibility, interest rates, and repayment terms can vary from one lender to the next. Because of this variance, it’s important to shop for the best private student loan company that suits your financial situation and offers lower interest rates.
If you don’t qualify for a private student loan due to your credit history, you might need to find a cosigner. A cosigner with a strong credit history can help ensure you get a private loan with reasonable terms. However, keep in mind that a cosigner is equally responsible for a loan’s repayment. If you fail to make payments, their credit could take a hit.
Mississippi teacher loan program
Mississippi residents who want to teach in the state after graduating college could be eligible for the William Winter Alternate Route Teacher Forgivable Loan. With this program, you could be awarded an annual loan up to $4,000 (for a maximum of two years). This loan could be forgiven if you meet certain criteria.
To qualify, you must be in your junior or senior year of college, enrolled full time at an eligible school in Mississippi, and earning a bachelor’s or alternate teacher license. You must also earn passing scores on the Praxis, a standardized test for teachers.
For each year of loan forgiveness, you must be employed as a full-time classroom teacher or librarian in a Mississippi public school. If you drop out or don’t become a teacher, you’ll be required to pay back the loan with interest.
There’s also a similar program called the William Winter Teacher Forgivable Loan. Be sure to weigh your options before pursuing a program.
Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment program
In addition to Mississippi student loans for teachers, there’s a state-based repayment program. The Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment program is for those who have a Mississippi Alternate Route Teaching License.
To qualify, you must meet these criteria:
- Teach in a public or charter school in a critical teacher or subject shortage area.
- Have federal student loans in your name.
- Be current on your federal, state, and local education debt.
- Must not have received funds from any of the following: the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan Program, the William Winter Teacher Forgivable Loan Program, or the Teacher Education Scholars Forgivable Loan Program.
If eligible, you could get up to $3,000 each year put toward your undergraduate Mississippi student loans for up to four years. Awards are paid directly to the loan servicer.
Refinancing Mississippi student loans
One key way to keep repayment costs down postgraduation is to refinance your student loan debt.
When you refinance, you take out a new loan to pay off one or more student loans. Doing so allows you to secure a lower interest rate or better repayment term on your Mississippi student loans. You could also consolidate multiple loans so you only need to worry about one monthly payment.
But there are many pros and cons of refinancing to consider. While you could get a lower interest rate and have your loans consolidated into a single monthly payment, you could lose federal benefits, including forbearance and deferment options, IDR plans, and student loan forgiveness programs.
Make sure to research student loan refinancing companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Mississippi wants to help you go to college
To afford your education, you can choose to use federal loans or private student loans, take advantage of loan programs, or pursue other options. Be sure to utilize resources available to you.
For example, the state’s Education Services Foundation was created over 20 years ago to help students manage education costs. On its website, the foundation provides college planning tools, student loan options, information on state grants and scholarships, application deadlines, and ways to help you manage your Mississippi student loans.
Be sure to use these services to ensure you’re finding the best ways to pay for school and reduce your debt.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 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 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% 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 Month/Day/Year, 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 08/21/18. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
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.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.57% – 6.98%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|