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Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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RISLA Student Loans Review 2021

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The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is a nonprofit quasi-state authority that provides college financing to students and parents. The lender specializes in providing loans to Rhode Island residents and students, though not all loans have residency requirements.

  • Students can be enrolled less than half-time and still qualify.
  • There is no prepayment fee, so borrowers may pay off their loans early.
  • Refinancing loans do not have residency requirements.

  • RISLA undergraduate and graduate student loans are only available to Rhode Island residents or students.
  • There is a maximum loan amount of $40,000 per year and aggregate lifetime limit of $150,000 for student loans.
  • Though RISLA does offer forbearance to borrowers facing economic hardship, the eligibility requirements are vague and approvals are made on a case-by-case basis.

RISLA offers student loan options for all levels of education. Refinancing is also available. The lender’s student loan options include:

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • Parent

Both fixed and variable-rate student loans are offered by RISLA. The interest rate depends on which repayment option is chosen, typically with a lower rate for immediate repayment.

Student loans range from $1,500 to a maximum of $40,000 per year. The aggregate limit is per borrower is $150,000, or $175,000 per family, and includes previous College Bound loans and other RISLA and Rhode Island Family Education Loans in the borrower’s name. Terms of five, 10 or 15 years are available.

Refinancing is available in five-, 10- or 15-year terms with amounts from $7,500 to $250,000.

Borrowers of RISLA student loans or parent loans must either be a Rhode Island resident or attend a college or university in Rhode Island.

Students can be enrolled full-time, half-time or less than half-time. A minimum income of $40,000 per year is required.

Refinancing loans are available to borrowers regardless of state and are subject to the same $40,000 minimum annual income requirement.

A credit check is required for all borrowers and co-signers. Other eligibility requirements must be met as well, including debt-to-income and liquidity.

RISLA student loans do not charge a prepayment penalty fee, so students can pay off the loan early. All loans, including parent and variable-rate loans, require payments to start within 15 days of final disbursement. The only exception is the RISLA Deferred Student Loan option, which offers a six-month grace period once the student graduates or leaves school.

Borrowers who experience financial hardship such as unemployment or disability can apply for forbearance. There is a maximum of 12 months’ forbearance over the life of the loan.

In the case of student disability or death, RISLA may forgive the remaining loan balance with proper documentation. However, the forgiven amount could be considered taxable income for the borrower or co-signer.

Co-signer release is only available on the RISLA student loan when the first 24 payments are made on time and in full; payments made under income-based repayment don’t qualify. The student borrower must also meet the minimum income, credit and other eligibility requirements.

RISLA has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, though it is not an accredited business with the BBB. In 2018, one complaint about RISLA was filed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about struggling to repay a student loan. It was closed with an explanation.

  • Residents of Rhode Island
  • Students at qualifying Rhode Island schools
  • Borrowers who want flexible repayment options

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