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Are Direct Student Loans beneficial for students?

The Direct Loan Program provided by the Federal Student Aid or FSA programs of the Department of Education. It aims to provides students with a simple, cheap way to borrow money for undergraduate and graduate education..

What is the advantage of the direct loan?
Direct Loans are:
■ Simple—you borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact—the Direct Loan Servicing Center—for everything related to the repayment of your loans, even if you receive
Direct Loans at different schools.
■ Convenient—you’ll have online access to your Direct Loan account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
■ Flexible—you can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower, and you can switch repayment plans
if your needs change.

How to apply for the direct loan program?
1. You apply for Federal Student Aid program by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA for which is available online. You can also use the paper FAFSA as a trial, but it’s better to use the online adaptation. This online version is accompanied by a detailed information packet which explains how to fill in the form and you can easily do it in fifteen minutes. Attach all necessary documentation requested in the form as well as requested by the individual college. Don’t forget to add the FAFSA number of the college you wish to apply to.
2. If your school takes part in the Direct Loan Program, you’ll then need to sign a master promissory note (MPN) to get into the Direct Loan. The MPN is a form which explains the loan terms and is a legally binding agreement which states that that you will repay the Department of Education for the loan you have taken.
3. The Direct Loan Servicing website has entrance and exit counseling that you have to take if you are a first time Direct Loan borrower.
4. Direct Loans are not sold to other lenders. As borrowing is done directly through the federal government, borrowers make loan payments to the Department of Education for their loans.
5. Borrowers have a large range of flexible repayment options. There are four repayment plans in the Direct Loan Program which are standard, extended, graduated, and income contingent. Students can change options when they need to without a fee at any time during the life of the loan.
6. Your school will usually give out your loan money by crediting it to your account, but could also give a little of it to you directly. Your loan money is usually disbursed in at least two installments.

What are the types of direct loans available?
The Direct Loan Program offers a few types of loans:
1. Stafford loans for students,
2. PLUS loans for parents and professional students
3. Consolidation loans for students and parents.

What is the interest rate?
The direct loans are usually run on a fixed interest rate dependent on whether first disbursed on or after July 1, 2006. The usual rate is a fixed interest rate of 6.8%.

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Although direct loans are available they are the first option of almost all students and sometimes there simply aren’t that many to go around. So apply early to avoid disappointment.

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