Direct loans, the new way to fund going to college
Written by: Jakob Jelling
Going to college can be an expensive proposition for both the student and the government. Many people are finding that going to college is an impossible dream due to raising tutitions and cost of living unless they receive help in the form of a scholarship or loan. Of course the raising costs of everything are no reason that any bright child should not receive a higher education and achieve all they can aspire to.
In the past the federal government has had a lending program to assist people with funding their secondary education costs but this system has it draw backs. The old system of student loans was fraught with fraud, was time consuming and very confusing to most people. With the old system there was more than 7.000 lenders with 65 secondary markets and 35 guaranty agencies. For one loan most students would have to fill out countless forms and apply to numerous agencies until they finally got the answer they needed.
The other big problem with the old lending system was the cost of administrating the loans. On average it cost the government $11 per $100 loaned to manage the accounts. The solution to this is the simplified Direct Loan system that is now in place. The Direct Loan system is exactly what it sounds like; the government lends the money directly to you thus eliminating the middleman and much of the cost of lending money to students.
When applying for a Direct Loan you will have two options, a subsidized or unsubsidized loan. A subsidized loan is generally for people who would not normally be able to afford going to college at all. With a subsidized loan the government pays all the interest on the loan until your schooling is finished at which point you must begin to repay the loan. An unsubsidized loan is the standard Direct Loan for most people. With an unsubsidized loan you must pay interest on the loan while you are in school and then begin to repay the loan after you graduate. You do have the option of deferring the interest payments while you are in school. If you elect for this option the amount of the interest is added to the principal of the loan each month until you graduate.
Just like all other areas of finance in your life, you must also carefully control the Direct Loan financing. There are many things to keep in mind such as the yearly lending limits. For the first year you can only borrow $2,625, $3,500 the second year and $5,500 each year after that. This means you may also have to work or find other sources of funding while in school. Keep careful records of all the money you receive and keep receipts for everything you spend the money on. You might be surprised at what all can be used as a tax deduction.
As you can see Direct Loans are a fast and efficient way to receive college funding from the government. The application process has been reduced to basically one form, the time it takes to gain approval is faster and you receive your money sooner than before. Direct Loans are a welcome overhaul of the generally failing old system of student lending.
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