Some college students rely on financial help from their parents or pay their own way through school. Meanwhile, others may receive aid in the form of grants and scholarships that do not have to be repaid. These types of help eliminate the need for a student loan, which can serve to your advantage after college. If you do not take out a loan, you do not have to worry about student debt or long repayment terms.
But the reality is that approximately 67% of undergraduates rely on student loans for college. You may ask, where can I get student loans for college? This is a common question, and fortunately, you have options. Getting funds for college may be easier than you think – as long as you know where to look.
Where Can I Get a Student Loan?
If you’re interested in a student loan, there is no shortage of options available to you. And while you can apply for a loan with any bank or other private lender, it’s best to start with federal loans, as these are easier to acquire.
With federal loans, there is no one-size-fits-all. The U.S Department of Education offers a variety of student loan options for graduates and undergraduates. These include loans designed specifically for students who demonstrate a financial need, loans for parents and loans for professional degree students.
The first step to applying for a federal student loan is completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application will ask basic questions about your financial background. Completion of this application helps access your financial need and determines eligibility for different federal programs.
Benefits of applying for federal student loans include:
- Flexible repayment – If you have difficulty making your student loan payment, you can request a deferment or forbearance, which temporarily suspends your payments for one or more months. Additionally, you can request a reduced monthly payment if you experience hardship.
- No credit check – Some federal loans, such as subsidized and unsubsidized loans and Perkins Loans do not require a credit check. Those who qualify for these types of aid can receive funds regardless of their credit history or credit score.
- No-in school payments. With the exception of Direct PLUS Loans for parents, federal student loans do not require payments while in school. Payments are deferred until six to nine months after graduation, or until attendance drops to less than half time.
Other Options for Student Loans
Although federal aid is a good place to start, a federal student loan may not cover all your educational costs. These loans have yearly limits, and if your tuition, room and board exceed this limit, a private student loan can bridge the gap.
A private student loan is an educational loan offered by banks and other private lenders. Private loan terms aren’t as desirable as federal loans, but they’re an excellent alternative. Regrettably, these loans feature a higher interest rate than federal aid, plus depending on the lender, you may be required to make in-school payments. Private loans are also subject to credit approval.