If you must take out a student loan to help pay for college, check out a few pointers contained in this post before filling out an application. It's best to be prepared and educated when trying to figure out where, and if, you should take out a student loan. Ideally, you don't want to spend the next twenty-five years trying to pay it down.
Applying for a student loan can be a pretty big deal and cause a few headaches. Here are the steps that you will need to take in order to apply for a student loan.
Exhausted all other sources of money
Before even beginning the process of taking out a student loan, the first thing you need to make sure is that you have exhausted all other sources of money for school. This means, any scholarships or grants that are available to you have been used up. Any gifts from family menmbers or bonds have all been used and you have no other sources of money for school other than taking out a student loan. Applying for a student loan is a lot like applying for a mortgage which is a very serious commitment.
Know how much you will need to borrow
You will need to know exactly how much you will have to borrow before applying for financial aid. The way to figure out what amount you will need is by using the calculator that can be located on many financial aid websites. This calculator lets you estimate how much money you will need to borrow for your education. You can always borrow a larger amount but it is better to stick with the minimum and have the least amount of debt as possible after graduation.
Choose the right loan for your needs
There are a few different loans to choose from depending on which one suits you best. There are federal, private, subsidized, and unsubsidized loans. There are even state and institutional loans as well. Once you have researched all of your loan options and chose the best for you, you can then apply for your loan.
Get a cosigner
Most students right out of high school will need one of their parents or a guardian to cosign the loan for them. If you are an adult with good standing credit and make at least $12,000 a year, you will not need a cosigner for your loan. Even if you are an adult, having a cosigner with great credit approval can help secure you a lower interest rate and speed up the loan process.
Collect all of the information you will need to apply for the loan. This includes personal information like your social security number, address, whether you or your cosigner own or rent a home, credit information, the amount that you need to borrow, and any important phone numbers. You will also need all of your school’s information, including your major and term will all need to be filled out on paper or online.
It is best to apply for your financial aid early. The deadline is June 30 at midnight for the academic year that begins in August. The applications for Federal Student Aid are accepted in January so it is good to start early and remember that your school or state applications may have a different deadline than your financial aid application. So, be prepared to have all your paperwork filled out and ready to go if you really need to apply for financial aid.