The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has been ranked second for the best private student loan nationally in the Forbes Magazine 2020 Top 20 List of Best Private Student Loans. According to Brianna McGurran, editor of Forbes Advisor, the
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) has been ranked second for the best private student loan nationally in the Forbes Magazine 2020 Top 20 List of Best Private Student Loans.
According to Brianna McGurran, editor of Forbes Advisor, the publication ranked private student loan options based on the overall cost of the loan – including interest rates and fees – and what help the lender can provide, if the student has trouble affording the monthly payments. Especially important during this pandemic.
“We’re grateful to receive this national distinction from such a well-regarded business publication such as Forbes,” said Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA said in a statement. “It’s particularly gratifying when you consider nearly all of the top recipients are national companies, operating in multiple states. This is a credit to our enormously talented and dedicated staff and how well RISLA is regarded in the bond market which allows us to borrow at very low rates and pass those savings on to students and families.”
Expanding in a telephone conversation, Kelley thought that RISLA’s single fixed rate loans is a major factor in providing students access to higher education at affordable means. He said in today’s environment of low interest rates, RISLA is making loans and refinancing loans at about 4 percent. Refinancing rates dip to 3.5 percent for a five-year term. The maximum loan is for 15 years, but Kelley said many students want to pay off their college debt as quickly as possible and they are looking for 5 to 10 year notes.
“We’re doing a million dollars a day (in loans),” Kelley said. He explained that because of the pandemic and the uncertainty it has created, many students delayed college decisions to see what would happen. Now they have made up their minds and are looking to put a plan together.
He said RISLA has $579 million in outstanding students loans; 55,000 loans and 28,000 borrowers or people with multiple loans.
“We always recommend that students first use the federal Stafford loan which for freshmen is a maximum of $5,500 and then families should do their homework and find the best fixed rate loan that meets their needs at the lowest interest rate,” Kelley said.
Under the ranking system Forbes used, RISLA scored 79 points out of a possible 100. First place Ascent scored 82 points.
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick and at 652 George Washington Hwy in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers.