Choosing the best graduate student loan typically involves selecting a loan that costs the least overall, has the least-stringent qualification criteria, and has the most flexible repayment terms. When you're comparing loans for graduate school, you’ll likely want to choose a graduate student loan that charges the least amount of loan fees and has the lowest interest rates. You may also consider such things as whether you’ll need good credit to apply for a loan and when you have to begin making payments on the loan you secure.
In some countries, graduate students have access to subsidized student loan programs. A subsidized student loan is one for which the jurisdiction’s government pays interest while the student is still in school. If these types of loans are offered in your area, you may do well to apply for one; they typically offer low interest rates, low loan fees, and attractive repayment terms. For example, a subsidized student loan program may allow you to have a several-month grace period in which to find a job before you begin repaying the loan. Subsidized graduate student loans are typically need-based, however, so they may be out of the reach of some students.
In addition to subsidization, you may consider loan program requirements when choosing the best graduate student loan. Some student loan programs may include a credit check as part of the process. If you do not have good or established credit, you may need a cosigner to secure a loan from a program that requires a credit check. In general, loans that do not require a credit check may be the easiest to secure.
Loan costs are also an important consideration when you’re trying to choose the best graduate student loan. You may consider such things as application and origination fees when considering a loan program. Interest rates are an important factor as well. If you are able to secure a loan with a low interest rate, this means you may pay less for the funds over the entire life of the loan.
Loan repayment requirements may be a major factor when you're choosing the best graduate student loan. If you can secure a loan that allows you to defer interest payments until after you graduate, you may find this more comfortable than trying to handle interest payments and study at the same time. You may also prefer a student loan program that allows a significant grace period between earning a degree or leaving school and beginning loan repayment. Additionally, you may find it beneficial to seek a loan through a program that offers payment deferment during times of hardship.