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If you’re planning to spend the next few years cheering on the UConn Huskies, strolling the tree-lined paths of Yale University, or attending any of the dozens of other Connecticut colleges, you first need to figure out how to cover the costs of tuition.
Connecticut student loans can help, but you should also be cautious about how much debt you take on to pay for college. According to The Institute for College Access & Success, Connecticut students have the third-highest amount of average debt upon graduation in the country.
If you’re looking to borrow, it’s important to compare your options for student loans in Connecticut so that you find the best rates and terms. And if you already have Connecticut student loans, you might consider refinancing as a strategy for saving money on interest and getting out of debt more easily.
Whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student, whether you’re starting college for the first time or have already graduated, read on for your options for taking out or refinancing student loans in Connecticut.
|Connecticut student debt: At a glance|
|Average debt upon graduation in Connecticut||$35,494|
|Percent of students who graduate with debt||60|
|National ranking for average debt||3|
|National average debt upon graduation (Class of 2017)||$39,400|
|Info current as of the 2015-16 school year, unless otherwise noted
Source: The Institute for College Access & Success
How to get Connecticut student loans
Federal and state student loans in Connecticut
When it comes to borrowing student loans in Connecticut, you should first look into federal student loans from Federal Student Aid. Federal student loans typically come with the most competitive rates, as well as protections such as income-driven repayment (IDR) plans after you graduate.
If you have financial need, you might even qualify for subsidized loans, which don’t start accruing interest until after you graduate. To access federal student loans, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA.
But since federal student loans don’t always cover the full cost of attendance, you might need extra funding. One option is for your parents to borrow a Parent PLUS Loan, which comes with a 7.60% interest rate.
Connecticut students might also qualify for a loan from the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA). CHESLA offers loans from $2,000 to $125,000, with fixed annual rates of 4.95% and a reserve fee of 3.00% (as of Sept. 5, 2018).
If you’re an undergraduate, you’ll make interest-only payments on your CHESLA loan while you’re in school and for six months after you graduate, after which you’ll begin making full payments. Graduate students can defer interest at these times.
Both Connecticut residents and nonresidents attending school in Connecticut can borrow from CHESLA. You can learn more on the CHESLA website, but you’ll ultimately apply with the loan servicer Firstmark.
Note that federal and state student loan options are almost always preferable to private ones, since they typically come with the lowest interest rates. But since federal loans also include borrowing limits, you might still need more funding in the form of a private student loan.
Private student loans
Once you’ve exhausted your federal and private options for student loans in Connecticut, you might consider a private student loan. Each private lender sets its own rates and terms. Some allow you to defer student loan repayment until after you’ve graduated, but others require you to start paying back your debt right away.
Each lender also sets its own eligibility, typically requiring that you have decent credit and a steady income to qualify. Since most undergraduates can’t fulfill these criteria on their own, they apply with a cosigner who can, such as a parent or guardian.
Once you qualify, you can often choose between a fixed and variable interest rate, as well as select a student loan repayment term, often between five and 15 years. Choose your term wisely since you don’t want to be stuck with high monthly bills you can’t afford.
Private loans rarely come with the same protections as federal loans. You typically won’t have access to IDR plans or loan forgiveness programs, and only a few lenders offer forbearance if you run into financial hardship.
Before borrowing a private loan, make sure you’re clear on how it differs from a federal student loan. If you (and, in most cases, your cosigner) decide it’s the right option for your education, you might consider the following lenders that provide student loans in Connecticut.
- Webster Bank
- Headquarters: Waterbury
- Partners with Sallie Mae to provide the Smart Option Student Loan
- Offers loans from $1,000 up to your school’s cost of attendance
- Provides variable rates from 4.12% to 10.98% and fixed rates from 5.74% to 11.85%
- CorePlus Credit Union
- Headquarters: Norwich
- Provides undergraduate and graduate business loans
- Offers variable rates from 6.24% to 7.75% on its undergraduate student loans as of Sept. 5, 2018
- Offers membership to those who live, work, or attend school in eligible counties or meet other criteria
- Dutch Point Credit Union
- Headquarters: Wethersfield
- Offers an undergraduate line of credit with variable rates from 5.75% to 13.50% as of Sept. 5, 2018
- Offers membership to anyone who lives, works, worships, goes to school, or conducts business in Hartford, New Haven, New London, or Middlesex counties, or who’s related to a member
- Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union
- Headquarters: Rocky Hill
- Finances student loans of up to $75,000, with variable rates from 7.25% to 8.25% as of Sept. 5, 2018
- Allows membership for anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, or volunteers in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, or New Haven counties, or the towns of Shelton, Stratford or Bridgeport, or who’s married or related to a member
- College Ave Student Loans
- Provides loans from $1,000 up to school’s cost of attendance to students across the country
- Offers repayment terms of five, eight, 10, or 15 years
- Rates at 3.69% to 12.07%
- Discover Student Loans
- Provides student loans up to your school’s cost of attendance
- Awards a one-time 1% cash reward when you get a GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Rates from 4.34% to 13.99%
- Offers student loans with repayment terms of five, 10, or 15 years
- Rates from 3.72% to 9.82%
Before choosing a lender, make sure to shop around for the best deals. By researching your options, you can find a private student loan with the lowest costs of borrowing over the long term.
How to refinance your Connecticut student loans
Even if you shopped around for the best rate when you took out student loans, that doesn’t mean you can’t snag an even lower rate after graduation. Student loan refinancing could get you that lower rate, possibly saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
When you choose to refinance student loans, you can completely restructure your debt as well. You might select a shorter repayment term to get out of debt faster. Or you could lengthen your term to decrease your payments and take some of the pressure off your monthly budget.
Finally, refinancing could simplify your payments by consolidating multiple student loans into a single loan. Instead of keeping track of several bills and due dates each month, you would only have to remember one.
Before you refinance student loans, though, make sure you understand the consequences of this move. If you refinance federal loans with a private lender, you essentially turn them into a single private loan. As a result, you lose access to federal programs, including IDR plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Refinancing is also different from federal consolidation, which refers to combining your federal loans into one with a Direct Consolidation Loan. Note that this process simplifies your debt, but unlike refinancing it doesn’t get you a lower interest rate.
Make sure you’re not mixing up the two processes before you pursue refinancing. If you’ve thought through the pros and cons of refinancing and decided it’s right for you, then take a look at these local and national refinancing lenders.
- CorePlus Credit Union
- Refinances student loans from $5,000 to $125,000
- Offers variable rates from 5.00% to 6.00% and fixed rates from 5.25% to 6.25% as of Sept. 5, 2018
- Provides repayment terms of five, 10, or 15 years
- Dutch Point Credit Union
- Refinances student loans from $5,000 to $50,000
- Offers variable and fixed rates from 4.75% to 10.00% as of Sept. 5, 2018
- Has repayment terms of five, 10, and 15 years
- Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union
- Refinances student loans from $5,000 to $75,000
- Offers variable rates from 7.00% to 8.00% as of Sept. 5, 2018
- Allows for a 15-year repayment term
- Refinances student loans starting at $5,000
- Rates from 2.57% to 8.18%
- Laurel Road
- Offers terms of five, seven, 10, 15, or 20 years
- Rates from 2.80% to 7.02%
- Citizens Bank
- Refinances student loans starting at $10,000
- Offers terms of five, 10, 15, or 20 years
- Rates from 2.57% to 8.69%
Just as you should shop around before borrowing a private student loan, you should also compare your offers before you refinance student loans. Several refinancing lenders make it easy to get an instant rate quote with no impact on your credit score.
Although a rate quote will only show you a preliminary offer, it could give you a good sense of your offers. If you’re struggling to qualify or want even lower rates, you might consider applying for refinancing with a cosigner.
Whatever you choose, research multiple providers to find a refinanced student loan with the best offer.
The bottom line: Student loans in Connecticut
With tuition costs higher than ever these days, Connecticut students are feeling the squeeze as 60% of them leave college with student loan debt. If you’re attending school in the Constitution State, make sure to do your due diligence before borrowing or refinancing student loans.
Even with your best efforts, paying off student loan debt can take time. Be patient as you chip away at your loans, and keep your eyes on the prize: a financially independent life free of student 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 email@example.com, 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|