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Nitro Knowledge. Your Guide to Paying for College.


One of the few not-awful things to come out of the pandemic was that the feds gave people a break from paying their student loans. 

But nothing lasts forever and that’s true for the student loan payment "pause." At some point,  you'll need to start making those payments again.

We’ll walk you through what’s new and what your options are.

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The Stafford Loan is a federal education loan offered to eligible students to cover higher education costs. 

The term ‘Stafford Loan’ is a bit outdated. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education started disbursing student loans directly, under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Since then, federal loans are more often referred to as direct student loans. 

So, you may see student loans referred to as Federal Stafford Loans, Direct Student Loans, or Direct Stafford Loans. The good news: they all mean the same thing. 

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To help students cover higher education costs, the U.S. Department of Education runs a federal direct loan program. Within the program, student borrowers can qualify for one of two types of federal student loan options: subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized loans are offered to students with financial need. For these loans, the government will cover the interest while you're in school.

Unsubsidized loans are offered to students without extreme financial need. If you get an unsubsidized loan, the loan interest will accrue, even in periods of deferment.

Let's dig into how each of these loans work.

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No, you cannot transfer a federal PLUS loan to another person, including the student whose education was paid by the loan. However, you may be able hand off the loan through refinancing. 

If you're considering taking out a Parent PLUS loan for the 2020-2021 school year, it might be wise to check out your other options first. If you already have a PLUS loan in your name, here's what you need to know to transition the debt to your child's name. 

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Two names that come up often when talking about student loans are Sallie Mae and Navient. Many people get confused over whether they're the same company or not. 

Here's the fast answer: No, but they used to be. These days, they are two separate companies. Sallie Mae is offers private student loans and Navient acts as a servicer for federal and private student loans. 

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As you begin to consider student loans--whether to fill in the tuition gap or cover the majority of your expenses--it’s wise to think ahead a few years to the time when you’ll start repayment. Despite any cure-all banner ads you may have seen in the course of your loan research, let us assure you from the get-go: there is no magic wand that makes student debt disappear.

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