Washington state is known for some wonderful things: Costco, Starbucks, and grunge music. It’s also helping residents graduate with some of the lowest student debt in the country.
By the time they graduate, students have an average education debt of just under $25,000 — that’s among the lowest in the nation, according to The Institute for College Access & Success. Comparatively, at the upper end of the spectrum, New Hampshire graduates have $36,000 in debt by the time they leave school.
If you need money for school, Washington student loans can help. Here’s how to get some or refinance the ones you already have to lower your payments after you graduate.
Washington student loans
If you’re heading to college soon, finding enough money to pay for your education can be stressful. The first thing you should do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You’ll plug in information about your family’s earnings and, in turn, learn how much they’re expected to help you pay for college. Your award letter will tell you how much money you’ll get in grants, scholarships, and federal loans.
Federal student loans
Federal loans tend to come with lower interest rates and better repayment terms than private student loan options. Direct subsidized federal loans, for example, are based on your financial need and your Expected Family Contribution. Unsubsidized loans are also available. However, they aren’t need-based, so any undergrad can get one.
Private student loans
If you’ve exhausted all your federal aid options, you can use private student loans to cover remaining costs. Private loans are helpful if you need them, but they come with more stringent loan terms. For example, interest starts accruing from your date of disbursement.
Compare private student loan lenders to see which ones can offer you the best terms and lowest interest rates.
Aside from online lenders, banks and credit unions also offer private student loans. Washington State Employees Credit Union offers the Smart Option Student Loan. It has fixed- and variable-rate options and allows you to add a cosigner if your credit isn’t great.
EvergreenDirect Credit Union also offers private student loans to help undergraduates and graduates alike. It offers a 0.25% rate reduction for autopay, and interest paid might be tax-deductible.
Washington student loan relief
If you’ve already graduated college and are having trouble paying off your student loans, you might be able to get some help. Student loan forgiveness and repayment programs can help you.
Health Professional Loan Repayment Program
The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program provides financial assistance to health professionals who offer primary care in underserved communities. If you’re a doctor, dentist, pharmacist, nurse, midwife, social worker, or other health care professional, you could receive up to $75,000 in relief. You must work at an eligible site to be considered, however.
Refinancing Washington student loans
If you don’t qualify for forgiveness programs, you still might be able to lower your student loan debt by refinancing. Refinancing your student loans will replace all your current loans with one new loan and interest rate.
If you have high interest rates that make monthly payments difficult to keep up with, refinancing might be right for you. There are a number of refinancing options for your student loans, so be sure to review repayment terms and interest rates before applying.
Even though it helps many people, refinancing isn’t always the best option. And remember: If you refinance, you could lose federal benefits, such as the ability to work toward loan forgiveness. Review all your choices before making a decision.
Manage your Washington student loans
Washington’s attorney general office offers a Student Loan Survival Guide to help you at every stage of college. It includes basics about credit scores, paying for college, and repaying student loans.
Free money such as grants and scholarships should be your first choice. After exhausting free aid, pursue federal and private student loans. The less you have to pay back after you graduate, the more money you get to keep in your pocket.
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.
|3.54% - 12.07%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CollegeAve|
|4.11% - 12.19%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit Ascent|
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|2.93% - 9.67%||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit CommonBond|
|3.80% - 11.99%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents||Visit Citizens|
|4.53% - 9.69%||Undergraduate and Graduate||Visit LendKey|