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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 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* 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.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.25% – 13.25%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 12.78%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.62% – 11.47%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.38% – 13.38%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.93% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.48% – 12.35%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|