By <a href="http://www.premierstudentloans.com" target="_blank">Premier Student Loans</a>Finding funding for your college education can be stressful—but for many, the alternative would be to not attend, which makes student loans a necessity. Federal student loans, financial aid, and even private student loans offer competitive rates that make it easier to manage the costs of undergraduate or graduate studies. The Sallie Mae foundation, private student loans, and college loans are just a few options available; here’s where to find them. The Sallie Mae Foundation Sallie Mae is the country’s largest provider of student loans, and is one of the best places to get started on your student loan search. A variety of tools on the foundation’s website can help you track down college loans, financial aid, and even help you set up an expense forecast for you to plan your costs. This is a valuable place to research different student loan programs, submit an application and manage your loans directly online after they are approved. The Sallie Mae foundation can help you begin your financial aid application and is a valuable resource to learn about both federal loans and private student loans. Federal Student Loans and Financial Aid Federal student loans are available through private lending institutions such as Sallie Mae. These types of student loans typically have lower rates than those offered by private lenders, and almost all students qualify for federal financial aid. You can choose from Federal Stafford loans, Federal Perkins loans and even graduate PLUS options as you move ahead in your educational career. The lower rates make it easier to balance and manage your finances after graduation. Before you apply for financial aid, you’ll need to review all national and local due dates to make sure your financial aid application is submitted on time. These federal student loans can take up to 6 weeks to approve, so you’ll need to apply as early as possible to receive funding for the right semester. Private Student Loans Private student loans are another option for students who may not meet all of the federal student loan eligibility requirements. These loans are based on credit history and income and will generally be offered at higher interest rates. Examples of private student loans include the Continuing Education Loan, Tuition Answer Loan, and Signature Student Loan, but there are hundreds of private student loans that you can research online or at your local library. Private student loans may be funded by companies, individuals, and even educational institutions, and usually have strict eligibility requirements. Still, many are valuable sources of funding, and they can be used to supplement federal student loans, grants, and scholarships you may have already obtained. College Loans College loans can be offered by specific departments at a college or university and may be extended to all incoming students during the application process. Information on these types of student loans and grants is usually available through the admissions office. Still, most college loans are offered through a third party, and fall under the private loan category. Student loans are a simple way to help you handle tuition costs while you’re in school, and repayment can be deferred until after graduation. This can minimize your financial stress during college, helping you focus on your studies and activities. Student loans offer a wealth of financial benefits, and combining these sources of funding with scholarships and grants can help you successfully accomplish your educational goals.