Figuring out how to choose a student loan shouldn’t be confusing. After all, you’re already focusing on getting ready for your class, and you don’t need any extra difficulties piled on top of reviewing the syllabus and figuring out the best coffee shop near campus. At Climb, we want to make it easy to choose the best loan option for your situation and your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you compare student loans during your financing decision, so you can get back to what really matters — your education!
What student loans are available for my program?
The first question to ask yourself is the easiest. Which lending options are available for the program you’ll be attending? Federal financial aid isn’t available at every school, and some schools partner with specific loan companies to provide financing for their courses.
For example, Climb only offers loans for programs that we’ve partnered with, so our loans can’t be used for every class out there. (Psst — do you know of a school that you think is great but doesn’t partner with us? Reach out and tell us about it!) Talk to your school about what can be used to pay for your tuition, and narrow down your choices from there!
Do I need living expenses?
In a similar vein, if you know that you’ll need living expense financing while you’re in class, you’ll want to check and see which lenders offer living expenses, if any. For some students, they might not be able to work while taking the class, and they might not have enough saved up to cover bills, groceries, or other necessities during their course. In this case, living expense financing can be an important (or even essential) part of their student loan.
What are the loan terms?
Now, it’s time for what may be the biggest factor to weigh in your student loan decision. How much are you going to have to pay, both on a month-by-month basis and in total? To understand both of these, you should look at interest rate, APR, potential fees, and loan term length. One lender might have lower rates or fees, and one might offer a term length that better suits your situation.
For Climb loans, although we’re not able to provide all of an applicant’s loan terms before they submit an application, we don’t want that to keep them from making an informed decision. That’s why we only perform a hard credit pull once a loan is funded. That way, you can apply just to check your terms — or apply multiple times with different co-borrowers — with no impact to your credit score, to try to find the best terms you can get!*
Which student lender will give me the most support?
Beyond the loan itself, though, there’s one more thing to consider when comparing loan options: the support you’ll get from the loan company itself. After all, a student loan is a much better experience if you have people there to help you throughout the process. Is one company much clearer in their communication? Who is easier to reach if you have a question? Do they have a chat box or a Help Center, in addition to the standard phone calls and emails? You shouldn’t have to go it alone, and after comparing all the terms and availabilities, it may come down to who you believe you would rather work with.
There’s no one and only aspect of a lender to look at when deciding whether you should sign those loan documents, and different people will place different values on each feature. But with the proper research and consideration, you can be sure you know how to choose a student loan that’s best for you!
*Climb performs a “soft” credit pull to evaluate eligibility, but this soft credit check will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull is only performed once the loan is accepted and funded.