I just accepted the Stafford Loan that was given to me through my FASFA, so now I have $20,500 out of $54,000 covered for my schooling. According to a simple interest calculator, I'll eventually pay back $11,972 just in interest because this is a 10 year repayment loan. This is my very first loans in my life and I just can't get over how I'm now in debt for the same price of a new Mazda CX-5 or a Nissan Juke, and I'll be paying back an additional price of a used car in interest. Basically, a year of law school costs as much as a new LR4! (can you tell I've been car shopping recently?) When I complained to my mom about this, she said the interest rate used to be like 15% and now I suddenly get the importance of all of the political debate over student loans.
To accept this loan, you have to take a very annoying quiz and then fill out a form with references and everything. It requires you to put at least one family member down and I wonder how people with literally no family fill one out. I'm also unsure of who to put as my other reference because that'd be really awkward if my "neighbor" or "friend" got a letter in the mail or a call about this. I guess I'll just put down my best friend since we've been friends for over the minimum three years... although I doubt they were thinking of a 22 year old, 5th year senior as a reference. Then it has you read all this information and promise you understand what you're getting into, but it smashes literally every loan possible and every repayment option possible into one document with loan terms that make me regret not paying more attention in Personal Financial Planning my sophomore year. The upside is that I found in the terms and conditions that my loan will be forgiven if I die so at least government student loans aren't completely heartless, right?
I also found this website with some great information about private student loans, but the problem is that many require established credit to even qualify for a loan and ask you for employer references and your income. I was a college student working part time making about $4,000 a year so I look really irresponsible but I feel like this shouldn't be held against me since obviously I'll be making more than that after I have a JD. They were offering me interest rates from 10-12% so I think I'm going to ask my parents to cosign since they actually have credit and see if I can get something better.
Financial Aid also sent me an email about other student loans, the College Access Loan (CAL loan) that has 4.5% interest and the Graduate Plus Loan (Plus loan) that has 6.84%. Depending on what interest rates I get back after I piggy back off my parent's credit, I guess I'll just accept the best loan. But school starts in 3 weeks so I'm starting to freak out about having money to pay for everything in time.