Finding a college student loan can be a hassle. Not to worry. I have assembled several places you can check to get a loan if you still need one. And at the end, you’ll find 3 tips for every student, whether you have a student loan or not.
First, for the newest students looking for loans, you have two types of loans: government guaranteed and private student loans. The government guaranteed loans have benefits that the others may, or may not have, such as:
- Low preferred interest rates - This can save you a ton of money. You want to keep that interest rate as low as possible.
- Deferment options - This means you can ask for a delay in payments if you don’t have a job.
- No payments during school - If you go back to school for an advanced degree, you can stop making payments while you study.
Always check with FAFSA first. This is the main website for college student loan guaranteed by the government. Through this site, you can get Stafford loans, Perkins loans, Grad/PLUS loans, Pell grants, SMART scholarships, and more.
You’ll have to fill out a FAFSA (hence the name) but that’s not that hard. Once you have your FAFSA in, you get a report in about 1-2 weeks of what aid the government will offer you.
This is pretty basic info. Almost all students know about the FAFSA. What next? Where else can you look?
Ever thought about getting a grant? Free money! No payments! How cool is that.
Sign up here for a free ebook on where to find grants all over the country! It's easy and quick, and totally free...
Look up your state website. Usually, you’ll find a link to their higher education office. Go there and see if your state offers college student loans – many do.
Your state may also offer student scholarships, tuition waivers, student loan forgiveness for certain in-demand fields, and even reciprocity if you go to a school in a neighboring state in some cases.
You can also get a student loan from a private lender, such as a large bank. Be careful with this group of loans. You want to be sure to check to see if you can get a government student loan first, before you go this route.
Check with your financial aid office at your university for a college student loan first. If you have no other options, there are many banks that offer these loans. Just call a couple of the biggest, and check with your credit union if you are a member. You may need a cosigner.
- Pay Day Lenders do not offer student loans. Stay away from these companies! They will charge you very high interest and they don’t offer any delays, or deferments while you are in school. Their interest rates are sky high. Don’t use them.
- Sell Your Car. I know, you have to get around, but do you need a new car? Sell it and get a cheap one. If you go about 8 years old, you can get a good car, and keep the price down. Maybe even pay cash or only have one year of payments.
I know it sounds crazy, but you could also ride a bike, walk, take the bus, or even carpool. That car may just be the anchor holding you down.
- Stay Away from Credit Cards. I know it’s so easy to charge a few groceries. Or charge your textbooks. Or get a quick cash advance. Don’t do it! You don’t want to graduate with a ton of credit card payments.
If you can, always pay cash. Go to a cheaper college or university. Work on the weekends or evenings. Live at home or share an apartment. Avoid debt as much as you can, and finish your degree.