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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

Should You Use a NC Assist Loan?

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

North Carolina is home to some of the best private and public universities in the entire world. And it benefits the state and local economy in numerous ways. It has allowed the Raleigh/Durham area to become one of the nation's largest technology hubs for example.

Of course, the flip side to this is that there are tens of thousands of Americans in this area with student loan debt, and lots of it. We've written about student loan forgiveness in North Carolina before. But for those that are still looking to finance an education, you're probably wondering what your best options are for flexible student loan programs across the state.

If this sounds like you, you're going to want to consider the NC Assist Loan program.

What are NC Assist Loans?

NC Assist Loans are a private student loan program carrying no origination, application, prepayment penalty, or any other type of extraneous fees. Managed by the College Foundation, Inc, they carry competitive and fixed interest rates (though they carry higher interest rates than most federal loan programs), and also offer 0.25% interest rate reductions when you make your payments on auto-pay.

Other features of the program include:

  • You can borrow enough money to cover your total cost of attendance (minus any other aid you receive).

  • Monthly chances to win $1,000 scholarships

  • Allowable postponement of your loans while in college

The NC Assist program offers both parent and student loans and can be used at both in-state and out-of-state institutions.

1. NC Student Assist Loan

Let's start with the loans for students, both undergraduate and graduate. To be eligible for the program, you'll need to:

  1. Be a North Carolina resident or student from outside the state, so long as you're attending a Title IV accredited institution within the state

  2. Be at least 17 years old

  3. Be a United States citizen

  4. Be deemed as "credit-worthy," or have a co-signer that is

  5. Have been accepted or enrolled at a qualifying college/university at least half-time

And while you can borrow up to your cost of attendance, the most that you can borrow is $120,000 if an undergraduate student and $200,000 as a graduate student. You can also borrow as little as $1,000.

NC Student Assist repayment options

When it comes to repaying your NC Student Assist loans, you'll have a 10-year standard repayment period, with a $50 minimum monthly payment. Much like your federal loans, you will have a six-month grace period after you graduate, or transition your status to less than a half-time student.

But in case you're interested, you also have the option to pay accrued interest while in college and during your grace period.

2. NC Parent Assist Loan

As promised, parents also have the option to take out loans through NC Assist. Parent loans are available to "North Carolina residents of students attending any eligible in-state or out-of-state school, or out-of-state parents of students who are attending an eligible North Carolina school."

The program operates much like the student program, complete with:

  1. No extraneous fees

  2. Fixed 6.25% interest rates (lower than the Federal Parent PLUS rate)

  3. A 0.25% interest rate reduction for making your payments on auto-pay

  4. The same borrowing limit of $120,000

And while your repayment works similarly, accrued interest will capitalize when your funds are disbursed. Additionally, your first payment will be due on the first 10th of the month that occurs a minimum of 45 days after your loan has been completely disbursed.

Applying for NC Assist

Applying for NC Assist is really easy to do! Before you start the application, you'll want to make sure that you have the following information available:

  1. Personally identifiable information such as your name, social security number, driver's license number, etc.

  2. Your college/university

  3. Your requested loan amount, financial aid received, and total cost of attendance

  4. Co-signer information, if applying with one

After you've gathered all of this information, you are ready to apply. Use the below links to navigate to the correct program.

You'll need to create an account, and then you'll be able to access your application materials.

Who should consider NC Assist Loans?

NC Assist Loans may be right for the following types of people:

  • Parents taking out loans: I'll be honest - I am not a huge fan of parents taking out student loans to help finance their children's educations. But if you are going to take out loans, the NC Assist program may be a good option for you, since interest rates tend to be lower than the Federal Parent PLUS program.

  • Those without other financial aid options: You should always pursue grants and scholarships before you take on any student loans. And when you do need to take loans, you'll generally want to take federal loans before you take on any private debt. With this in mind, NC Assist Loans may be a good fit for those that need to take on private loans, since they generally carry more flexibility than other private loans.

Refinance your private student loans in NC

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention refinancing as an option to deal with your already existing private loans. Many of our readers undoubtedly wonder if refinancing is worth it.

If you're unsure, the easiest place for you to start is by checking out Splash Financial. Splash is what is known as a student loan marketplace, meaning that they have a network of participating lenders and will automatically find you the lowest interest rate.

In fact, Splash can quote you an interest rate in less than three minutes without negatively impacting your credit score.

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and has worked for industry leaders in both finance and healthcare.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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