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From the University of New Mexico to St. John’s College, New Mexico’s colleges serve more than 70,000 students. If you’re headed to the Land of Enchantment to earn your degree, you’ll need a plan for paying tuition.
Although grants and scholarships can go far, they don’t always cover all your costs. Student loans can be a useful tool for filling the gap, so long as you don’t take on too much debt. Luckily, New Mexico college students graduate with some of the lowest debt rates in the country.
This guide will show you the best places to borrow New Mexico student loans so that you can focus on your classes instead of worrying about money. And if you’ve already taken on student debt, read on to learn about refinancing your New Mexico student loans for a lower rate.
|New Mexico Student Debt: At a Glance|
|Average debt upon graduation||$21,237|
|Percent of students who graduate with debt||54|
|National ranking for average debt upon graduation||49|
|National average debt upon graduation (Class of 2017)||$39,400|
|Info current as of 2015-16 school year, except when noted
Source: The Institute for College Access & Success
How to get New Mexico student loans
Whether you’re a New Mexico resident or an out-of-state student attending a New Mexico school, you could be eligible for federal and state student loans. Since federal student loans tend to have the lowest rates, you’re best off starting with those. If you need more funding, you might be able to borrow from the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (NMEAF).
Federal and state student loans
As long as you’re attending a qualifying school, you should be eligible to borrow federal student loans from Federal Student Aid. These government-backed loans come with relatively low interest rates, as well as a variety of federal protections.
Direct loans for students, for instance, have a 5.05% rate for undergraduates and a 6.60% rate for graduate students in 2018-2019. Any student can borrow unsubsidized direct loans, while students with financial need might also qualify for subsidized loans, which don’t start accruing interest until after you’ve left school.
What’s more, federal student loans qualify for some federal repayment programs, such as income-driven repayment and extended repayment plans. Plus, you could potentially get your student loans forgiven if you qualify for a federal program such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
To borrow federal student loans, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The only drawback with these loans is that they come with borrowing limits. As a result, you might hit your maximum and still need more funding for school.
In this case, your parents could consider borrowing a parent PLUS loan, which comes with a 7.60% rate and virtually no borrowing limits. Or you could look to NMEAF for a New Mexico student loan.
NMEAF student loans for New Mexico students
NMEAF is a private nonprofit that the New Mexico Legislature established in 1981 to help
New Mexico students pay for college. It issues low-rate student loans to residents and nonresidents attending school in the state.
Through its alternative loan program, you can borrow a student loan between $2,000 and $20,000 a year with fixed rates from 5.95% to 7.45% as of Nov. 9, 2018. Since this loan is private, you will need to pass a credit check or apply with a creditworthy cosigner to qualify.
This New Mexico student loan comes with a variety of rate discounts and repayment plans. But federal student loans still generally have lower rates and more flexible plans, and they carry no credit requirement, so Federal Student Aid should still be your first stop for borrowing before you look to alternative options.
Private student loans
If you need additional money for college, consider borrowing from a private lender, such as a bank, credit union or online lender. But before you do, familiarize yourself with the ways that private loans differ from federal ones.
Some private lenders let you defer repayment until you graduate, while others expect you to start paying right away. There’s typically no option for subsidized loans, so interest will start to accrue from the day the funds are disbursed.
Also, you won’t have as many repayment options, since most private lenders don’t offer income-driven, graduated or extended plans. That said, you can typically choose a term of between five and 20 years when you initially borrow.
Finally, note that private lenders aren’t always so flexible if you run into financial hardship. Some will let you pause your payments through forbearance, but not all offer this option.
So before you borrow, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your debt and have a solid plan for paying it back. If you decide a private student loan is right for you, here are some providers of student loans in New Mexico:
- Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union
- Finances student loans between $2,000 and $30,000 a year
- Offers a repayment term of 10 years
- White Sands Federal Credit Union
- Partners with Sallie Mae to provide the Smart Option Student Loan
- Rates run from 2.87% to 11.85%
- Offers student loan repayment terms of five, 10, or 15 years for undergraduates, and 10 or 15 years for graduate students
- Awards you with 1% cash back if you meet certain terms and conditions
- Offers rates from 3.28% to 13.22%, and from 0.00% for Ascent Independent loans.
- College Ave Student Loans
- Finances student loans of $1,000 or more
- Offers student loan repayment terms of five, eight, 10, or 15 years
- Rates range from 2.84% to 11.98%
- Sallie Mae
- Finances student loans up to the cost of your school’s cost of attendance
- Offers rates from2.87% to 11.85%
Since each lender sets its rates, make sure to shop around for the best offer. Besides looking for a competitive rate, pay attention to other benefits and customer reviews. Since you’ll likely have this debt for years, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a reputable lender with a strong reputation for customer service.
How to refinance New Mexico loans
One of the most challenging aspects of paying off student loans is keeping up with interest. Let’s say you borrowed $30,000 at a 5.05% rate. If you complete your repayment in 10 years, you will have paid a whopping $8,272 in interest.
Fortunately, there is a strategy for lowering your interest rate: Refinance your student loans. Through refinancing, you could get a better rate on your student debt, especially if you have relatively higher-interest private loans.
Plus, you can choose new repayment terms on your debt. You might choose a shorter term to get out of debt more quickly and save on interest. Or you could extend your term to 15 or 20 years to lower your monthly bills.
Of course, extending your term will probably mean you’ll pay more interest over the long run. Keep long-term costs in mind before adding years to your education debt.
Refinancing also allows you to restructure your debt in a way that better works with your financial goals. And if you refinance multiple loans, you can combine them into a single loan with one monthly payment, which could be easier to track.
Note that refinancing is different from federal consolidation, which involves combining federal student loans with a direct consolidation loan and doesn’t lower your interest rate. This differs from refinancing, where both federal and private student loans are eligible, and you can cherry-pick one or more loans to refinance based on which would give you the most financial benefit.
Refinancing isn’t for everyone, though. When you refinance federal student loans, you turn them into a private debt. That means you lose eligibility for federal plans such as income-driven repayment, as well as programs such as PSLF.
If you’re relying on either, refinancing wouldn’t be the right move. But if you’re confident you can make your monthly bills, refinancing could save you money and help you conquer your debt.
Note that NMEAF also offers student loan refinancing to borrowers. Plus, there are banks, credit unions and online lenders that refinance New Mexico student loans. Here are some of your options:
- Refinances student loans between $10,000 and $200,000
- Offers rates between 5.50% and 6.25% APR as of Nov. 7, 2018
- Allows student loan repayment terms of five, 10, 15 or 20 years
- Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union
- Refinances student loans up to $125,000 for undergraduates and up to $175,000 for graduate students
- Has variable rates starting at 6.65% APR as of Nov. 7, 2018
- Offers repayment terms of up to 15 years
- Refinances student loans from $5,000 to $500,000
- Has rates ranging from 1.99% to 6.99%
- Laurel Road
- Offers repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years
- Rates on offer run from 1.99% to 7.02%
- Refinances student loans up to $500,000
- Rates go from 1.85% to 6.45%
Just as you should look carefully at your options when taking out a private student loan, you should also compare offers from multiple lenders before choosing a refinancing provider. Several internet-based lenders make this process easy by providing instant rate quotes. By exploring various offers, you can find one with the lowest rate and best terms.
Making the best decisions with your New Mexico student loans
Whether you’re heading off to college for the first time or have already graduated, it’s important to make smart decisions with your student debt. Look around for the best student loan or refinancing provider, and make a plan for paying back your student debt.
Our student loan calculator can help you estimate the long-term costs of your loan. If you can afford extra payments, you could even pay off your debt ahead of schedule.
Whatever approach you take, stay patient and focus on the long game. Eventually, you’ll be able to say goodbye to your student loans once and for all.
Note: Student Loan Hero has independently collected the above information related to student loan interest rates and terms. The financial institutions mentioned have neither provided nor reviewed the information shared in this article.
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|* 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|