Choosing a Lender
There are many lenders to choose from and students generally request guidance from the Financial Aid Office. Therefore, we are providing this information to assist you in your search.
It is important to remember that you have the right to choose the lender that best suits your needs.
While our office recommends you pursue the Federal Stafford loans and Federal Grad PLUS programs first, there are private loan programs available to assist with funding your legal education.
Two important factors to consider, when evaluating the right product for you, are value and service.
- Value – Lenders try to distinguish themselves by offering repayment benefits in a variety of forms. Some of the most common benefits are interest rate reduction, fee payback, and principal reduction. You should always read the fine print to see how and if you can lose your benefits.
- Service – Servicing of a student loan can be just as critical as pricing. The lender needs to provide exceptional service to assure timely delivery of funds. Lenders should be responsive when fixing processing problems, and offer support throughout repayment.
Some lenders will attempt to increase student loan volume using a variety of marketing techniques. Some lenders will enter into agreements with organizations that rank schools in order to give the appearance that the school endorses the loan product. Other loan products are directly marketed to students without a school certification.
Cooley's Financial Aid Office does not endorse or participate in these sales techniques. You are encouraged to review all marketing materials carefully and contact us with any questions.
In determining which lender/loan program to borrow from, we strongly urge you to compare the terms of the loan products to ensure that you choose the one that best suits your needs.
Important points to consider when choosing a loan program:
- What is the interest rate?
- What are the credit criteria (if any)?
- What is the grace period (time between leaving school and beginning repayment)?
- What is the aggregate limit (if any)?
- Are fees deducted when the loan is disbursed?
- Are fees added on at repayment?
- How likely are you to qualify for the "borrower benefits"? (e.g. interest rate reduction after a number of consecutive on-time payments vs. a "bonus" credit program)
- Does the lender service your needs for the life of the loan or do they sell them?
- When does the benefit go into effect? – (at disbursement, repayment, or after a specified qualification is met)
- Can the benefit be lost? Once lost, can it be regained?
- Does the lender provide clear and concise information?
- Can you talk to a well-trained individual who is knowledgeable?
- Is the lender’s web site easy to navigate and does it provide the information you need?
- Is the lender encouraging you to borrow only what you need?
- Does the lender offer strategies and resources for managing your debt?
- Did the lender ask the school’s permission to use their name for marketing?