Student Loans: How to Pick Your Lender

Aug 14, 2018 2:44:33 PM

There are so many decisions to make during the college planning process; it's easy to get overwhelmed. By the time you need to finance your own or your child's education, you may have reached decision fatigue. All too often, decision fatigue leads to inaction, analysis paralysis, or a hastily-made choice - none of which are likely to result in the best of outcomes. 

Choosing your student loan lender is a big deal. This is an organization you are likely to work with over the next 5 - 20 years of your life. Conventional wisdom may inspire you to simply compare rates, choose the lowest, and get the whole process over with quickly. Or maybe you just plan to go to your bank to keep all of your finances in one place. But there can be some major differences in the rates, fees, level of service, and benefits student loan providers offer, so doing a more thorough comparison is a wise move.

Don't be one of the many borrowers filled with regret about their choice of lender. We've put together the below guide to help you select a student loan provider that you'll be happy with. It may take a little bit more of your time, but it will be well worth your effort in the long run. 

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Topics: Borrowing for College, student loans

Fixed vs variable: Why your student loan rate type matters

Jun 21, 2018 11:51:00 AM

All too often, when students and parents are searching for the best deal for their student loans, they focus on finding the lowest rate, but forget to consider the rate type. Later, when they are in repayment, they are often shocked when their monthly payments change. This is why it is critical that you don't only look at your student loan interest rate, but also pay attention to the type of rate that you are being offered. 

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Topics: Borrowing for College

How to compare student loan options

Jun 18, 2018 11:25:00 AM

If you are in need of a loan for college, it is important that you understand how to compare your options in order to get the best deal for your family. 

Students typically should borrow Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loans before seeking a loan elsewhere. These loans have low fixed rates and the most flexible repayment options on the market. If your family applied for financial aid, these loans would have been included in the student's financial aid award letter. 

However, federal student loan options have annual borrowing limits and unfortunately, for many families, the amounts aren't enough to cover the total amount they need to pay to the college. That is where other options come in and when comparing becomes necessary. 

The remaining loan types fall into three major categories: federal, state-based, and private. 

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Topics: Borrowing for College

Announcing 2018/19 RISLA Loan Rates

Apr 25, 2018 11:48:06 AM

RISLA is excited to announce that it has lowered interest rates for the 2018/19 academic year and has launched a new, streamlined application with pre-qualification that won't impact applicants' credit scores. 

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Topics: Borrowing for College

RISLA's Top 10 Blogs of 2017

Dec 29, 2017 12:36:00 PM

This year alone we published over 90 blogs, but these 10 blogs really stuck out. We've covered almost everything college related, from discussing loan options to the very first steps of college planning. Save the blogs you love and share the ones that you think others need to see!

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Topics: College Financial Aid, College Planning, Borrowing for College

12 Tips to Help You Survive Your Freshman Year of College

Aug 11, 2017 2:33:00 PM

Ah, college...there is nothing quite like the excitement of going out on your own to a place with endless possibilities for reinventing yourself, learning, and constructing your new reality. But moving away from home into a tiny dorm (with a complete stranger!) can absolutely give you a case of the jitters.

Figuring out how you're going to survive your first year of college can be a little scary. You don't have mom to do your laundry; you don't have dad to hang your favorite piece of art on the wall and whip up that home-cooked chicken you crave; your best friends are hundreds of miles away. It's a little intimidating at first, no doubt, but once you develop a routine and a certain level of comfort at school, you'll be walking around campus with confidence (and dare we say, "on sunshine?").

It's time to come up with a solid plan so you can live happily and independently during your first year of college without relying on your friends and family back home.

Need advice on how to survive your first year of college?

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Topics: Borrowing for College

Still have an outstanding tuition balance? Here's what to do (and not do!).

Aug 9, 2017 7:12:00 PM

Your tuition deadline has passed, but you still have a balance due on your account at your college. What do you do? We are here to help with this list of do's and don'ts for paying the balance on your tuition bill. 

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Topics: College Financial Aid, Borrowing for College, Financial Education for Students

Rhode Island Promise at CCRI

Aug 8, 2017 9:56:41 AM

Starting this fall, all 2017 Rhode Island high school graduates and GED recipients are eligible to pursue a tuition-free associate degree at CCRI.

That's right: Regardless of your family income, you won't pay tuition.

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Topics: College Financial Aid, Borrowing for College

What is the right college major for you?

Jun 19, 2017 11:33:00 AM

It’s the most oft-discussed variable in the life of a college student, so it’s best to get right to it – what’s your major?

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Topics: College Planning, Borrowing for College

College loans for parents: FAQ

Jun 7, 2017 11:04:00 AM

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we most often receive about parent loans for college. If you don’t see your question below, we know how to answer that one, too! Just write to us at!

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Topics: Borrowing for College