Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loans: The Complete Guide

This guide helps you choose the perfect student loan. You'll learn about federal and private loans, repayment strategies, and consolidation options.

By Yerain Abreu


Benefits of student loans

  • Access to higher education

  • Investment in your future

  • Possible tax deductions

  • Helps build credit

Drawbacks of student loans

  • Puts you in debt

  • Canceling a student loan is difficult

  • Less cash for other stuff

  • Missed payments hurt your credit


  • Tuition and fees

  • Housing and utilities

  • Meals and groceries

  • A personal computer

  • Transportation to and from school

  • Study abroad program

  • School supplies


  • Vacation travel

  • Clothes

  • Entertainment

  • New car

  • Investing

  • Business expenses

  • A down payment on a home

Federal student loans

Private Student Loans

TuitionHero Tip

TuitionHero Tip

College Ave

College Ave

On lenders secure website


5.49% - 16.99%¹


4.41% - 16.99%¹
Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae

On lenders secure website


6.37% - 16.70%¹


4.50% - 15.49%¹


On lenders secure website


5.39% - 16.20%


4.42% - 15.90%
Compare Personalized Rates

TuitionHero tip

  1. 1

    Research and compare lenders

    Start by researching and comparing different lenders, including both private and federal options. Take note of their interest rates, fees, repayment options, and other features. This will help you find the best loan for your unique financial situation and education goals.

  2. 2

    Gather necessary information

    Before you apply, gather essential details and documents such as your Social Security number, proof of income, tax returns, and specifics about your school and program. If pursuing federal loans, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For private student loans, apply via your chosen lender.

  3. 3

    Wait for loan approval

    After submitting your application, you'll need to wait for the lender to review and approve it. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the lender and the type of loan. Be patient and stay in contact with your lender to ensure they have all the information they need to process your application.

  4. 4

    Review and sign

    Once your loan is approved, carefully review the terms and conditions, including the interest rate, fees, and repayment options. This includes the repayment schedule, interest rates, penalties for late or missed payments, and any other relevant terms. Make sure you're fully aware of your responsibilities as a borrower before accepting the loan.

Key takeaways


Yerain Abreu avatar

Yerain Abreu

Yerain Abreu is a seasoned Content Strategist with a Master's degree in digital marketing. He focuses on college finance, a niche carved out of his journey through the complexities of academic finance. These firsthand experiences provide him with a unique perspective, enabling him to create content that's informative and relatable to students and their families grappling with the intricacies of college financing.

Always free, always fast

TuitionHero is 100% free to use. Here, you can instantly view and compare multiple top lenders side-by-side.

Won't affect credit score

Don't worry - checking your rates with TuitionHero never impacts your credit score!

Safe and secure

We take your information's security seriously. We apply industry best practices to ensure your data is safe.

It’s 100% free
Won’t affect credit score
Compare rates from multiple lenders