How Do I Get A Student Loan


How to choose a student loan that’s right for you

Federal (government) loans and private loans from banks, credit unions, and other lenders are the two primary sources of student loan options available to most students. Before looking around for private loans, you should investigate all of your options for federal loans, also known as Direct loans.

The types of loans are:

  • Direct Subsidized: A federal loan for undergraduate students. You don’t get charged interest while you’re in school. Because it is need-based, your FAFSA information will determine if you are eligible.
  • Any undergraduate or graduate student may apply for a direct unsubsidized federal loan, provided they haven’t already exceeded their lifetime borrowing cap. You are charged interest while you are in school. To cut costs, pay the interest as you go.
  • Direct PLUS: Federal student loans for graduate and professional students, or for parents of undergraduate students You must pass a credit check to get these loans.
  • Private: Loans offered by banks or credit unions. Look around for the best deal you can discover. In most cases, parents or other family members must co-sign for students.

You might have more options depending on your location and other circumstances. Some states provide low-cost education loans for residents. Additionally, there are nonprofits and other groups that, frequently limited to a particular city or state, provide low- or no-interest student loans.

Explore your federal options first

Federal Direct loans are the preferable choice for the majority of student borrowers. They almost always cost less and are easier to repay. (However, if you are a graduate student or parent thinking about applying for federal PLUS loans, this might not be the case. ).

Here are some advantages of federal Direct loans:

  • Access: Most students are eligible for federal student loans. There is no credit check (except for Parent PLUS loans). As is usually the case with private loans, you won’t need a co-signer.
  • Reduced interest rates: Federal loans typically have lower interest rates than private loans for the majority of borrowers. If you qualify for subsidized loans, use them first. Since the government covers the interest while you are in school, they are your least expensive option.
  • Fixed interest rates: The interest rate on federal loans is set, meaning it won’t fluctuate. Private loan interest rates are frequently variable, so over time, both your interest rates and payments may increase.
  • Flexible repayment options: If federal borrowers are having difficulties repaying their debt, they have additional options for lowering or stopping payments.

There are some downsides to federal student loans:

  • Should you fail to make payments on your loan for 270 days, the government has the right to seize all of your tax refund, as well as a portion of your earnings or Social Security benefits.
  • The amount of money you can borrow is limited. The maximum loan amount for freshmen is $5,500, and for third-year students, it is $7,500.

Steps to getting a federal student loan

  • Make sure your FAFSA form is complete and submitted.
  • Once you’ve decided on a school, see the financial aid office or adhere to the guidelines in the offer of financial aid. If you haven’t chosen a school yet, wait until you finish applying to schools.
  • You have to sign a Master Promissory Note and finish entrance counseling before you can receive the loan funds. Learn more from the Department of Education.

If you still need a private loan, shop around to find the best deal

First, make sure you need a private student loan. Because private loans are typically more expensive than federal loans and provide little flexibility if you have trouble making payments later on, we strongly advise you to proceed with caution. There will be less flexibility in terms of when and how much you repay your private loan, and your interest rate and monthly payment could fluctuate without notice.

But for some borrowers, particularly those with excellent credit histories, private loans might be a sensible choice. Larger loans might be possible from private lenders based on your needs and credit history. In comparison to some federal loans, you might be able to find lower interest rates if you compare prices and can demonstrate your ability to repay.

Steps to getting a private student loan:

  • Talk to your schools financial aid office. A form from the school attesting to your need for additional aid to pay for attendance is typically required by lenders.
  • Line up a co-signer. The majority of private student loans demand one unless the applicant has a clean credit record. Legally, co-signers are obligated to repay the loan in the event that the principal borrower defaults. Loans that provide “co-signer release” following a predetermined number of timely payments might be something to look into.
  • Shop around for lower interest rates and flexibility with repayment. Several credit applications, sometimes called “hard inquiries,” can lower your credit score. Try to finish all applications within two weeks to lessen the impact. Certain private lenders advertise extremely low interest rates, but only those with the best credit histories will be able to afford them. Your actual rate could be much higher.
  • Don’t use a credit card. It may be a far more costly method of paying for your schooling. Federal student loans offer flexible repayment terms and borrower protections that credit cards do not.

Considering an income-share agreement to pay for college?

The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically. Links or references to content or resources from third parties may be present in this information. We neither support the third party nor warrant the veracity of the information provided by the third party. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.


How to get approved for a student loan?

Eligibility Requirements. Our basic prerequisites for eligibility are that you must be a U.S. citizen, have a need for need-based assistance, and S. citizen or qualified noncitizen, and are enrolled in a qualified degree program at a qualified university, career center, or trade school

How hard is it to get a student loan?

Credit score: When you apply, your credit will be checked, and it must be at least the minimum required by the lender. That minimum can vary, but it’s usually in the mid-600s. Keep in mind that while some lenders might provide private student loans without requiring a credit check, their interest rates might be expensive.

Can I get a student loan on my own?

Parents are not always necessary for private student loans, but the borrower or another co-signer must be eligible for the loan. Since it can be challenging for a student to have sufficient income and credit history on their own, a co-signer will probably be required.

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