Students: What to Ask a Lender

  1. What is your lowest interest rate and fee combination, and how can I get it?  Is it for a specific time period or does it go for the life of the loan?
  2. Is there a limit on how high the variable rate can go?  How often is the interest rate adjusted and how is it determined?
  3. What interest rate can I get on a fixed-rate loan?
  4. How long will I be repaying the loan and is there a penalty of paying it off early?
  5. When do I have to start making payments?  How long can I defer payments while I’m in school?  If I go to grad school and defer payments, how much will I owe when I do start making them?
  6. Will I lose my discount for paying on time if I have only one late payment or if I ask for a change in the payment schedule?
  7. What proportion of your borrowers get the discounts you offer?  Are your discounts guaranteed or are they subject to change later?
  8. Would you allow me to defer or reduce my payments temporarily because of economic hardship?  Under what circumstances and for how long?
  9. How much can I borrow without reducing my eligiblity for government or institutional aid?