Today we come to the last topic in our series on understanding financial aid, loans. Student loans can be confusing and frustrating for many families. Federal vs private? Interest and APR? And what on Earth is a prepayment penalty? We are not finance experts, but there are many resources available to help students understand the differences between the types of student loans offered.
The best resource available for students is the school guidance office. If you are an HRVHS student with questions about student loans (or any of your financial aid offers), make an appointment with ASPIRE coordinator and college adviser Lisa Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have questions about private loans, specifically, consider making an appointment to talk to a representative at your family’s bank and/or a local credit union.
If you would like to learn about the fundamentals and vocabulary of student loans, there are also excellent online resources. In particular, the US Department of Education has a simple explanation of the different types of federal loans along with frequently asked questions about government loans. The Department of Education also has a side-by-side comparison detailing the differences between federal student loans, federal parent loans, and private loans. Finally, finaid.org has a guide to help students understand and compare private loans offers.
At the end of the day, online resources may be useful to help you understand the basic concepts of student loans, but we encourage students to reach out to the HRVHS Guidance Office for information and personalized advice on your financial aid offers.