Loan Debt FAQs

 What is the average amount of student loan debt all students graduate with?

The class of 2016 graduated with an average of $37,172 in debt per student! The average student loan payment after graduation for all students is $351.

How and where do I get a student loan?

Students can either take out private or public loans. To receive a public, federal loan, you must fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal loans tend to have better interest rates and repayment options, so it is recommended that most students start there.

What is the best student loan? What is a good loan interest rate?

The best student loan is a subsidized federal loan. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest until after you graduate with your degree. After that, an unsubsidized federal loan is probably best. For up-to-date interest rates on federal loans, see this resource.

How can I reduce the amount of student loan debt I need to take on?

The most important step in reducing student loan debt is to make a wise college decision. Students who graduate with the most debt tend to be those who change majors or transfer schools, which increases both the time and cost of completing a degree. Other ways of reducing debt include applying for scholarships, as well as federal aid.

Can I get my student loan debt forgiven?

Debt forgiveness is currently available for some public workers such as teachers in high-risk locations. Students can also apply to have their loans discharged if their school closes. Learn more about what options you have here.

What are the consequences of defaulting on a loan?

Defaulting on your student loan will do serious damage to your credit. The federal government also may decide to garnish your paycheck or even social security payments. Avoid loan default at all costs.

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

Unsubsidized student loans accrue interest each month, even while you are in college. Unless you pay that interest each month, what you owe after graduation might surprise you.

Distance Learning FAQs

Does this school have different requirements for their online program?

The application and admissions process for a school's online program may be different than for their traditional. Contact the admissions department to find out how you should specifically apply to the online program if that is your desire.

Can I take online classes even if I'm not enrolled as an online student?

Yes, many students enjoy having the option of taking one or several of their classes online, even if the majority of their program is considered traditional. Many college programs today incorporate some element of online learning.

How do I pick the best online college for me?

There are many different types of online programs. Some traditional colleges offer some of their programs exclusively online, while some colleges are completely online and offer no option for in-person classroom learning. Other colleges have hybrid programs that blend traditional and online.Start your search for the best online colleges here.

Is an online degree credible?

Before choosing any online program, make sure you research the school's accreditation. We have individualized accreditation information for hundreds of colleges and universities. Regional accreditation is typically considered more prestigious than national accreditation, though for more career-oriented programs this may not matter as much. Also, make sure the school is accredited for your specific major if that is necessary in your chosen field (typically required for many medical fields for example).

Tuition and Fees FAQ

Tuition and fees are just one of many things you must consider before selecting and attending a college. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers that may provide you with more information.

Do Tuition and Fees always increase every year?

Unfortunately, tuition increases are very common. According to the College Board, in the past 10 years tuition has increased 3.5% per year at all public universities, and 2.4% at all private universities. If price increases are a concern for you, look for colleges that have announced a price freeze or price decreases.

If a school charges a lot for tuition, does that mean it's a high-quality school?

Not necessarily. Some schools cost more because of their location, high administrative fees, or other fancy extras. College Factual's value ranking gives you an idea of how expensive a particular school is for the quality they provide. For more information check out our Value pages unique to each college and university.  

How much will I have to pay to attend college?

Most students don't actually pay the full sticker price (i.e. the full tuition and fees) that is quoted by the college. If you are eligible for financial aid or resident discounts, your final price will be much lower. Visit the Net Price Page for your future college or university to get a better idea of what your actual price will be to attend.

Why do schools quote such a high sticker price if most people don't pay the full price?

Some students who do not qualify for financial aid or other discounts will actually pay the full sticker price. Those students who can afford to pay full tuition are subsidizing the cost of college for other students who cannot afford it.

I'm an international student. Do these numbers apply to me?

International students are often charged full tuition to attend a U.S. college or university. Sometimes they are also charged extra fees that do not apply to U.S. students. However, some schools also set aside scholarships specifically for international students. Check in with specific college tuition and fees pages to find out how much it will cost you to attend.

Best Value U.S. Colleges for International Students Methodology

Best Value U.S. Colleges for International Students Methodology

Attending college or university in the U.S. is an expensive endeavor for international students. These Best Value for International Student Rankings were created to help students from other countries discover quality and affordable education options in the United States.

What Makes Our Best For Vets Rankings Different

What Makes Our Best For Vets Rankings Different

Our veteran rankings cover more colleges, and include important outcomes data that is sometimes missing in other rankings. Find out more about what makes our rankings for veterans and active duty military different.