[Read five common private student loan complaints.]
Still, some safeguards have been put in place for private student loan borrowers, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made recommendations for future student loan policy changes. Now, for instance, colleges have to certify that a student is borrowing a manageable amount of debt, even among loans from private lenders. "There's been a lot of work to try to make sure that people aren't just crazy borrowing," Kandianis notes.
Borrowers are ultimately in charge of the amount of debt they take on. Research into starting salaries and employers hiring grads from your school can help you project the likelihood of what you'll be able to pay, whether you're borrowing through a federal program or a private lender. A manageable student loan repayment will be about 10 percent of your monthly take-home pay after graduation, many experts recommend.
For any type of student loan, tell yourself this, Kandianis recommends: "I'm borrowing a whole bunch of money, and the only way I'm going to repay it is if I get out and get a good job ... Am I financing a throw-away or something sturdy that's going to be around for awhile?"
Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.