JUNEAU (AP) -- The Alaska student loan program is offering new lower-interest loan programs for students who attend school in state or live in Alaska after they graduate.
This fall, the state program is introducing the AlaskAdvantage Stafford Loan, a federally guaranteed loan, and the Alaska Supplemental Education Loan, a new state loan.
Both have interest rates below the federal base rate, said Stephanie Butler, director of program operations and outreach for the program.
''We'll be able to create some cost efficiencies that result in what our research is finding for us is, if not the best benefits available in the nation, very close to the best,'' Butler said.
Under the new federal loan, borrowers attending Alaska schools or living in Alaska after they graduate will be awarded ''Alaska presence credit'' for every year of residency.
With this credit and other post-graduation credits for timely repayment and use of the program's direct payment options, the interest rate on loans while attending school would be 1.46 percent, 2 percent below the current federal base rate of 3.46 percent.
During the post-graduation repayment period, the federal base rate rises to 4.06 percent. However, students qualifying for all credits will pay an interest rate of 0.31 percent.
The new Alaska Supplemental Education Loan replaces Alaska Student Loans offered in past years, which had a fixed interest of 7.8 percent.
Under the new state loan, students who qualify for all credits will pay an interest rate of 1.96 percent while in school, and 1.31 percent after graduation.
Both of the new loans are variable, meaning interest rates will change over time.
In another change from the old program, the new loans will be available to students from outside Alaska who are attending schools in state.
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