Your Student Loan Questions: Answered

Find out more about what kind of interest rate is best for you

Should you get a fixed or variable rate? Should you defer payments or start paying while still in school? Nicole Straub, Senior Vice President of Discover® Student Loans, looks at common myths associated with choosing a student loan.

Student Loan Myth: I should only get a loan that lets me defer payments while in school.

Nicole: It depends. The most important thing is to figure out if you can make those required and regular payments that an in-school payment would require. There are two core benefits of this kind of loan:

  1. Pay less interest: Since you will be making payments against the interest, you will pay less during the lifetime of the loan.
  2. Lower interest rate: These loans may have a lower price to begin with so that might save you money as well.

Remember though that you need to ask yourself if you are able to make those regular payments. If you are not sure you can always make payments against a deferred loan anytime.

Student Loan Myth: I should choose the loan with the lowest rate, even if it’s variable.

Nicole: Choosing the loan with the lowest rate makes a lot of sense, but you need to make that decision based on what your needs are: 

  1. Fixed Rate Loans: You may choose a fixed rate loan, which means you’ll have the same interest rate and monthly payment for the life of the loan.
  2. Variable Rate Loans: In many cases, these loans have a lower starting interest rate. It’s important to keep in mind that the loan’s interest rate can go up and down over the life of the loan as the rate index changes. This could mean your monthly payment could go up or down over time.