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VSAC student loans review

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Nonprofit financing for students or residents of Vermont.

If you’re a Vermont resident or attending school in the state, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) may be able to help you find additional financing when federal loans fall short. But while it offers competitive rates and a wide range of loan amounts, you’ll need to have a cosigner with good to excellent credit to qualify.

5.9% to 7.78%

APR

Good to excelent credit

Min. Credit Score

Details

Product NameVermont Student Advantage Loan
Minimum Loan Amount$500
APR5.9% to 7.78%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Minimum Loan Term10 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
RequirementsVermont resident or attending school in Vermont, creditworthy cosigner, undergrad or grad student enrolled at least half time at eligible school, US citizen or eligible nonresident, eligible for federal student aid, no defaults on other education loans

First, am I eligible?

VSAC student loans are only available if you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Vermont resident or attend school in Vermont
  • Undergraduate or graduate student
  • Enrolled at least half time at eligible postsecondary school
  • Have creditworthy cosigner
  • US citizen or eligible nonresident
  • Eligible for federal student aid
  • No defaults on other education loans

How do VSAC student loans work?

As a direct student loan provider, VSAC allows you to borrow as little as $500 all the way up to the full cost of attendance with its Vermont Student Advantage Loan. Loans under $10,000 have terms of 120, while loans over that amount come with terms of 180. Interest rates are fixed and vary depending on the repayment plan you choose.

While you can apply completely online in just a few minutes, VSAC is slower than many other providers — it may take two or more weeks to fully process and disburse the funds to your school. You’ll also need to have a cosigner with good to excellent credit to qualify.

Does VSAC offer parent loans?

Yes, VSAC also offers Vermont Parent Advantage Loans to parents looking to finance their child’s education. Aside from your child meeting VSAC’s eligibility requirements, you must also meet the following criteria:

  • Biological, adoptive or step parent of the student
  • Good to excellent credit
  • US citizen or eligible nonresident
  • No defaults on other education loans

VSAC’s parent loans are available in the same amounts and terms as its traditional student loans, though APRs run slightly higher depending on your repayment plan.

How do VSAC student loans compare to federal student loans?

VSAC Vermont Student Advantage LoansFederal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Annual loan amounts$500 up to the total cost of attendance
  • Undergraduate students: $5,500 to $12,500
  • Graduate students: Up to $20,500
Repayment optionsImmediate, interest-only, deferredImmediate, interest-only, deferred, graduated, extended, income-based
Interest rates7.78%
  • Undergraduate students: 4.53%
  • Graduate students: 6.08%
Origination fee0% to 5%1.062%
Repayment terms120 or 18010 to 25 years
Cosigner required?YesNo

How much do VSAC student loans cost?

Your VSAC student loan’s APR depends on the repayment plan you select and your cosigner’s credit.

  • Immediate repayments: 5.9% to 6.69% APR
  • Interest-only repayments: 6.65% to 7.28% APR
  • Deferred repayments: 7.25% to 7.78% APR

All APRs are fixed and include an origination fee between 0% and 5%, depending on the creditworthiness of your cosigner. However, there are no prepayment penalties for paying off your loan early, nor are there any late fees.

Does VSAC offer discounts?

Unlike other private student loan providers, VSAC doesn’t offer any special interest rate discounts for signing up for autopay.

What are my repayment options?

VSAC has three repayment options for its Vermont Student Advantage Loans. And once you select one, you’ll be stuck with it for the duration of your term.

  • Immediate repayments. Start making repayments on principal and interest within 45 days of the final disbursement of your loan funds to your school.
  • Interest-only repayments. Make interest-only repayments while in school that begin within 45 days of your loan’s final disbursement to your school. You won’t start making repayments on the principal until you graduate or drop below half time.
  • Deferred repayments. Hold off on making any repayments until 45 days after you graduate or drop below half time. Unlike other lenders, VSAC doesn’t offer a generous grace period.

Does VSAC offer deferment or forbearance?

Yes. VSAC offers up to 24 months of hardship forbearance, though it doesn’t list any details of what might qualify as hardship on its website. Interest accrues during this period, making your loan even more expensive in the long run.

Top reasons to consider VSAC

From its competitive terms to its wide range of loan amounts, here are a few perks of taking out a Vermont Student Advantage Loan:

  • Wide range of loan amounts. Borrow as little as $500 — which can help when you just need a little extra for books or lab fees — all the way up to 100% of your cost of attendance.
  • Competitive rates. Although not as low as federal Direct Loans, VSAC offers competitive interest rates between 7.78%. And if your cosigner has excellent credit, you likely won’t have to pay an origination fee.
  • No late fees. There are no late fees associated with borrowing a student loan from VSAC. Though paying late won’t add to the cost of your loan, your credit score may still take a hit.
  • Career outreach program. The VSAC Outreach program is designed to help residents of Vermont find career opportunities and counseling services for postsecondary education.

Drawbacks to borrowing from VSAC

Consider these potential drawbacks before borrowing from VSAC:

  • Must reside or attend school in Vermont. You won’t qualify for a student loan from VSAC unless you’re a Vermont resident or attending school in the state.
  • Cosigner required. Unlike some federal loans and other private student loans, you can’t apply for a Vermont Student Advantage Loan without a creditworthy cosigner.
  • Short grace period. VSAC’s grace period for its deferred repayment plan is just 45 days — much shorter than the standard six-month grace period with federal and most private student loans.
  • No interest rate discount. Unlike many other private student loan providers, VSAC doesn’t offer an interest rate discount for signing up for autopay.

Compare student loan providers like VSAC

Updated October 14th, 2019
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender (typically, total certified costs of education minus financial aid already received)
Starting at 4.2% with autopay
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
675
$200,000
4.51% to 9.26%
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
700
$500,000
5.45% to 9.74%
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
Starting at 3%
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.

Compare up to 4 providers

What do borrowers say about VSAC?

VSAC doesn’t have many online reviews from borrowers, despite being around since 1965. It’s not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), though it does receive an A+ rating based on factors like transparency and time in business. The only three customer reviews on the BBB site are spaced years apart, but they all give the nonprofit a 1-star rating and complain of poor customer service.

Its reviews on other websites are also spotty. If you’re not sure about VSAC based on the absence of information from former borrowers, you may want to check reviews of other lenders to see how it stacks up.

What to expect when signing up

After confirming you qualify, follow these steps to apply for a Vermont Student Advantage Loan online:

  1. Visit VSAC’s website and click Learn More & Apply under the Vermont Advantage Loan section.
  2. Click Apply now through secure MyVSAC.
  3. Click Register Now to create an online account.
  4. Follow the instructions on the application page, providing information about yourself, your cosigner and your university.
  5. Submit your application and wait for a decision notification from VSAC.

It may take two or more weeks for VSAC to process your application and send your loan funds to your school. Be sure you apply early to avoid missing any payment deadlines.

Must read: Who services VSAC student loans?

VSAC services its own student loans. This means you’ll be making payments directly to VSAC through your online account, where you can set up autopay to make repayments that much easier.

More about VSAC

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation was created in 1965 to help students and families save and pay for college. It offers loans to all students of Vermont — and those coming to Vermont to study — to pick up the slack when federal loans fall short. It even worked as a federal student loan servicer up until 2016. When it discontinued this service, all borrower accounts were transferred to Nelnet.

Bottom line

In terms of competitive rates and minimal fees, VSAC brings a lot to the table for residents of Vermont and those attending school in the state — especially if you already have a cosigner with good to excellent credit. But it doesn’t have the most generous grace period or stellar customer reviews.

Not sure VSAC is right for you? Compare your other options with our comprehensive guide to student loans.

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