Student loans, pt. 3

This is the third and final entry in a three-part series about my experience with student loans for my junior year.
Entry three: shopping and applying for private student loans

There are many financial institutions that offer student loans, but since the recession, applying and attaining have become a little bit harder. For one, there are fewer lenders, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which supplied some financing for student loans. And the lenders that do remain may not be so excited to lend: groups like Citigroup, Bank of America and Wells Fargo may be more selective as they look to accumulate capital and give loans to the most-likely-to-repay.
I have private loans from two lenders: Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae.
Note: I’m not advocating Wells Fargo or Sallie Mae over any other bank or services; I’m just sharing my personal experience and thoughts. Open to suggestions.

Wells Fargo: I have three loans through Wells Fargo for less than $4,000. I took out these loans so I could visit England with one of my class and two loans for online summer classes, one each summer ($700/class at UNL!).
Some reasons why I picked Wells Fargo:
1. I bank there, so the bank can see I am a good customer who uses a variety of their products, such as a credit card (boo), checking/savings, rewards and overdraft protection.
2. I also trust them – they’ve helped me with fraud twice, they’ve reversed overdraft charges because I was getting screwed and I love the online banking and mobility.
3. They’re also fast, which is really why I used them. These loans were all made with speed: I needed a small amount for England travel in May, I was approved in January. I needed small amounts for online classes in April, I got the loan in March. And it can right into my account instead of my university, so I could write the personal check, rather than wait for my school to do it for me.

Note: It looks like I’ll be taking out a loan again for summer classes, and I was a little worried about applying for a loan because the nearest Wells Fargo branch is 1 hour and 12 minutes away + $10 in tolls. But I found out the phone operations stay open until 10pm, which is perfect because that’s when I get home sometimes.
More info here.

Sallie Mae: Sallie Mae is public company that specializes in private student loans. I use Sallie Mae to make up for education loan deficits, not incidental education expenses. The federal government, through UNL, offered me only $7,000. I made the rest up through Sallie Mae.
Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan requires me to pay interest while in school, usually $50-100 a month.  Six months after I finish schooling, I will begin paying back on the capital of the loan, which I think is about $12,000 (for the last three years).My Sallie Mae loan went to my financial aid office. Through my payment setup, my rent and tuition were taken care of in those 2 payments (fall and spring semester), and the office disbursed the rest to me. This way takes a little while longer to get the money.
Sallie Mae’s Web site is kind of awkward to navigate sometime, but I’ve never had a problem with it. I receive reminders to pay my interest, whereas I don’t for Wells Fargo.
More info here.

Applying for loans to both of these places is pretty easy, though I think I did the Sallie Mae one with my dad over the phone, and needed some information on my FAFSA. I use my dad as a cosigner on all my

Entry Three: the difference between public and private student loans.


~ by khaslett on March 11, 2010.

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