There are three general types of student loans — Federal Stafford Loans and Federal PLUS Loans, both of which are guaranteed by the federal government, but differ on terms, and private loans, which are given by a bank or other lender based on credit-worthiness.
Federal Stafford Loans are given directly to the student, in his or her name. Interest rates for Federal Stafford Loans are usually the lowest available, and repayment begins 6 months after graduation or going to school less than half time. Federal Stafford Loan amounts are based on your year in college.
Federal PLUS Loans are made to the parent of a dependent college student. Interest rates, though not as low as Stafford Loans, are still among the lowest available. Up to 100% of costs can be borrowed with a PLUS loan, and repayment begins usually no later than 60 days after being disbursed.