Rhode Island leads the way in student lending innovation and lowest fixed rates
WARWICK, R.I., June 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is excited to announce that it will be the very first education loan lender in the country to use mobile technology and identity verification tools to streamline the student loan application process. Families can conveniently get pre-qualified and apply for RISLA’s low-cost education loans right from their phones by texting “college” to 24000. 
This fully mobile service will allow users to securely and privately access rate offerings and determine their eligibility for a loan with RISLA from their phone with minimal data entry. Once pre-qualified, borrowers can complete the online application, upload image captures of any documents needed for the application process, and electronically sign from their mobile device or continue the application process on their home computer.
Other education loan providers can require the borrower to enter several pages of information before the student or family is even told what their interest rate will be. As a non-profit, full transparency is a priority to RISLA.
“RISLA’s non-profit status and its AA rated tax-exempt bonds enable RISLA to offer one of the lowest fixed interest rate student loans in the country,” said Charles P. Kelley, RISLA’s Executive Director. “But we also recognize that it is not enough to have the lowest interest rates. We must also leverage new technology to provide a great customer experience for students and families on the go.”
“When we help families refinance their education loans, we are often shocked at the high interest rates that many borrowers are burdened with. We realized that we needed to do more to make low cost state-based programs like RISLA’s easier to access and remove barriers that typically prevent students and parents from getting the best deal for their individual situation,” said Lindie Thibodeau, Director of Marketing for RISLA.
RISLA’s college loans are only available to qualifying RI residents and to out-of-state families of students who are attending any of RI’s outstanding institutions of higher education.
RISLA believes that its fixed interest rates for the 2018/19 academic 3.99 % to 6.24 % (with the.25%ACH discount) and no fess are among the lowest in the country. The Federal Government just announced its rates for their parent PLUS loans for 18/19 of 7.60 % (7.35% after ACH discount) AND upfront fees of 4.264 % of the amount borrowed. See federal press release below.
If families use the standard ten-year repayment term RISLA can save families over 25% of the amount they borrow compared to a Federal Parent Loan, i.e. if a family borrows $10,000 and starts repaying over the standard ten-year repayment period a RISLA loan will save that family over $2,500 in interest and fees. RISLA recommends that students first maximize all grant aid and utilize the Federal Direct Student Loan before looking at other funding sources.
A video is available now on sources of federal student aid, how to borrow responsibly for college, and why fixed rate loans are a safer option for students and families by texting “Smart” to 24000. 
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) is a non-profit state authority that has been helping families pay for college for over thirty-five years. RISLA gives back to the community with free college planning and financial aid counseling through the RISLA College Planning Center and through Bridge.jobs, a free internship finder that connects students with Rhode Island employers. For more information on RISLA or to apply for a loan, please visit risla.com.
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SOURCE RI Student Loan Authority