It’s very important to understand the difference between private and federal student loans.

Federal student loans come with

  • lots of consumer protections
  • fixed interest rates
  • many repayment options (including an income-based option that strongly reduces payments)
  • debt forgiveness after 20-25 years

Private student loans, on the other hand, come with

  • very few consumer protections
  • variable interest rates (risky!)
  • very few payment options
  • debt never expires

Using private student loans is like paying for college with credit cards!  But there’s one critical difference — credit card debt can be discharged in bankruptcy but private student loans can not. Private student loan lenders can pursue you to your grave.

Best- practice:
Stick to federal loans because they have a lot of protections and advantages.  Limit yourself to borrowing no more than what you expect to make the first year out of college.