Nonprofit Lender Offers Extra Benefits to College Borrowers

Organization Helps Applicants Find the Right Loan Without Overborrowing

July 15, 2020

As families face the first college bill during the coronavirus pandemic, one nonprofit student loan provider is working to help ensure student and parent borrowers not only get the funding they need but also make a plan to reduce overall borrowing for college.

"Because we're a nonprofit, we keep interest rates as low as we can to begin with," said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of Iowa Student Loan®, which provides private education loans on a national level. "But, our 41 years in student lending has proven that it's in everyone's best interest if we can also show families how they can reduce their need to borrow." This one-two approach, McCullough says, helps families avoid crippling burdens of student loan debt.

Undergraduate students applying for the Partnership Advance Education Loan® experience Student Loan Game Plan, which helps them explore ways to reduce their loan amount and understand how future loan payments fit into a personal budget based on a realistic starting salary. Graduate students, parents or others who borrow on behalf of a student, and borrowers with existing loans looking to refinance all have free access to Iowa Student Loan's online tools and resources.

"We are continually looking for ways we can help borrowers, before and after they actually take out a loan," McCullough said. "In addition, we frequently introduce new loan options to help those who can't pay the total cost of college through federal and institutional financial aid, scholarships, and savings and earnings."

One such new loan product is the refinance loan available before a student has left school. The Reset Refinance Loan for In-School Borrowers allows a student, or a parent who has borrowed on behalf of a student, to refinance to a lower interest rate before the student leaves school and to continue to delay payment until after leaving college.

McCullough encourages people who are looking for a student loan to consider:

  • The actual rate they may receive. While the current economic environment has resulted in historically low interest rates, only the most qualified applicants receive the lowest available rates. Other applicants may receive rates closer to the middle or high end of the range. Applicants should choose a lender that provides eligibility information upfront and allows applicants to pre-qualify to see their rate before applying and without impacting credit.
  • Fixed versus variable rates. It's important to know the difference between the types of rates and how the economy affects the total amount repaid. Fixed interest rates may initially appear higher than variable rates, but they remain the same until the loan is fully repaid. Variable rates fluctuate based on market conditions and usually change on a quarterly or even monthly basis.
  • Whether there will be extra fees. Origination, late or prepayment fees add to the total debt load. Borrowers should look for a lender that doesn't charge those fees.
  • Availability of funds. One national lender recently announced education funds would not be available to those who didn't already have an education loan. Other lenders may face financial difficulties and may limit or eliminate student lending programs in the future.
  • Support for the borrower. College financing can be confusing. A lender with decades of experience working with student financing is usually a better bet. Customer service before, during and after the application and through repayment is an essential consideration.

Iowa Student Loan is ready to help borrowers with questions. Students and families may learn more by visiting or calling (844) 268-2203.

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