Following last year’s investigation into the student loan industry, several companies have created websites to aid in comparing student loan rates and benefits. Obviously, the volume of loan companies and the wide variety of benefits makes a ‘useful’ comparison of loan products a challenge by anyone’s terms (ignoring the fact that it would be impossible to create an exhaustive list of product options). Trying to determine which loan benefits would best suit the personal needs of students and parents makes this process even more difficult.
I recently came across a posting on the NASFAA (National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) website that outlined a few of these different tools. When reviewing the resources, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Some of the tools are designed to serve different purposes (i.e., shop for private loans, shop for loan consolidation offers, etc.).
- No list is likely to be comprehensive – there are always additional potential options that will not be provided.
- Companies may not be listed because they are the “best” options but merely because they pay a fee to be included on the list.
- The information is only as good as the site providing it – information changes regularly, always double check to make sure the benefits you’re viewing are still available/accurate.
- View these resources as merely informational, these are not recommendations of any sort.
STUDENT LOAN COMPARISON TOOLS
- FinAid (http://www.finaid.org/loans/privatestudentloans.phtml)
- Loan Finder (http://www.estudentloan.com/)
- Money Cafe (http://www.moneycafe.com/Educatio.htm)
- Simple Tuition (http://demo.simpletuition.com/missouri)
- Student Loan Listings (http://slbg.greentreegazette.com/gtree/)
- Student Loan Scout (http://www.studentloanscout.com/)
- Tuition Bids (http://www.tuitionbids.com/)