How To Take Out A Loan For College, The Complete Guide

Learn how to take out a loan for college in the guide given below.

Student loans can be widely helpful. Students tend to face a lot of difficulties when opting for higher studies. From deciding which degree to pursue finding a good school, getting in, and then worrying about the finances, there is not just one thing they have on their minds. In such cases, having a student loan can take off the burden of a huge worry which comes under the financial area.

Even though student loans are really helpful, the problem arises when one is unclear about how to take out a loan for college. This is where we come in. We know how annoying it can be to get answers for multiple questions from multiple sites and have taken the liberty to make a detailed guide for you.

Read on down below to get answers to questions like, what are the requirements to take out a student loan, how to take out a student loan without parents, Is it bad to take out loans for college, and many others.

What Are Student Loans?

Before we jump ahead into the dynamics and intricate details of student loans, you must be first clear on what a student loan exactly is. As the name indicates, a student loan is a loan designed especially for students. This loan can be availed by them for post-secondary level education.

A loan taken out for college doesn’t just cover your tuition fees but will aid you in your other school-related expenses as well. This means any administration charges, money spent on books or reading material, supplies needed for schools such as stationary, etc, and even the living expenses of the student as well.

Types Of Student Loans

Students are of two basic types which are then further divided into different parts.

  1. Federal Student Loans
  2. Private Student Loans

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are the ones which are given out by the government, the funding in these loans is done entirely by the government. The government uses the Federal Direct Loan Program for federal student loans. A lot of times people tend to p[riotitze federal student loans over private ones because there is a major change in various elements of the loans. For instance, you will find that there will be differences based on the interest rate charges, whether it will be constant or not, and even more, options when it comes to the repayment of the loan.

Federal student loans are further divided into three types which are :

  1. Direct Subsidized Loans depend on the financial need of the borrower.
  2. Direct Plus Loans are the ones that are based on credit and are unsubsidized loans that can be taken out by graduate students, parents of the student studying, and even professional students as well. The parent’s loans will be called the Parent PLUS loan.
  3. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are the third type which is given out based on financial need, unlike direct subsidized loans. These loans will not be credit-based and there won’t even be a need for a co-signer at the time of obtaining the loan. The school or college plays a huge role in decision making for this type of loan. Your school will make decisions as to how much amount you can borrow, depending on the attendance and even the other financial aid they will be offering to you.

Private Student Loans

Sometimes the expenses can be too much and you might feel the need to get a private student loan as well, Moreover, private student loans are opted for by all those individuals who are looking for a quick and easy way with fewer requirements and processes to go through. Private students are given out by financial institutions and banks.

Similar to the Parent PLUS loan, student loans also have an area specifically for parent loans. In such times, parents can take out a loan to pay off their child’s fees and other expenses. The individual who opts for a parent loan has to be creditworthy. When children take out private student loans, they need to have a parent or a cosigner with a good credit score.

With the help of a student loan, one can easily cover up all these expenses. This is why student loans are pretty helpful for young adults who are pursuing college or higher education. Now that you know what a student loan is, we can jump ahead to answering your next big question which is where can I take out a loan for college.

Where Can I Take Out A Loan For College?

The answer to this question goes two ways depending on which type of loan you will be opting for. If you are looking for private student loans, these are given by banks and financial institutions. You can either go straight to these places and inquire about the loans that they are offering or you can do the easier job and get on the internet. All of these places will have their websites which will be full of information. You can get on the internet and find out all the details. Furthermore, you can also find their contact details on the internet and get to know more about them through phone calls or emails.

For government loans, you will need to get forms, fill them with the required document, and then submit them in a limited time duration. More details about this are given down below

What Are The Requirements To Take Out A Student Loan?

Requirements For Private Student Loans

For private student loans, first and foremost, the most important thing to remember is that you will sometimes need to have a cosigner or a parent who can sign the loan with you. Whoever this individual is, has to have a good credit score for the loan to come through. The cosigner or your parent will have to take the responsibility of making your loan payments if you fall short or if you are unable to go through with it.

The credit score and cosigner element are not permanent. Some places might not keep it as a criterion so it is better to look around, research a little and then get one which suits you and your needs best.

Before you try to apply for a private student loan you will need to be enrolled in a particular program you cannot get a private student loan if you are not currently enrolled in a program in an institute.

Moreover, some vendors and institutes might ask you to be a minimum of 18 years old. They will also have you to be a US student if you want a loan. Furthermore, some places will also ask that you have a higher school diploma.

While giving you out a loan, private student loans will ask that you have some sort of income coming in. meaning, the lenders will be considering your income and balance your income with the loan amount payments. By calculating the debt to income ratio, they will gauge if the borrower can repay the loan.

Requirements for Federal Student

First off, you will be required to fill out the FAFSA which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Once you complete the FAFSA process, it will be determined by the lender if you are qualifying for the loan. Filling out FAFSA is an essential step and one cannot proceed ahead if this is left in between.

Next up, you will need to have a valid social security number. Next up, for federal loans similar to private student loans, you will have to have a high school diploma to proceed. This can include either a certificate from a homeschooling program or a GED. Next up, you have to keep in mind that anyone undocumented will not qualify for federal loans. All those individuals who are a citizen of the country and have a green card will be eligible for the loan. Keeping undocumented people aside, immigrants with T-1 or those with refugee status can get federal student loans.

Individuals need to be in school when they are opting for federal student loans. It will be checked if you are connected with an institution or not. Next up, all the students shooting for a federal student loan should have a minimum GPA of 2.0. If they end up going under this GPA, the loan will be taken away and they can lose their financial grades. This will be available again once the student works and improves their grade. The students also need to be enrolled half time, meaning they have half credit hours if they want the loan.

Repayment of the loan is also important and for that, the students need to have a source of income. All those who are applying for a federal student loan should have a part-time job. The status of the job can be decided by the college though.

For men specifically, those who are 18 to 25 years will have to sign up for a draft through the selective service.

How To Take Out  A Student Loan

How To Take Out A Private Student Loan

  1. First of all, start by looking around. As mentioned above, doing a little window shopping will help you a lot in your search. Researching the different sorts of lenders and finding out their plans and their offerings will help you in making an informed decision. Few of the factors that you should keep in mind while researching lenders for the length of the loan, the interest rate on the loan (you want one with low-interest rates), and keep your eye out for any extra fees some lenders might be charging you. Once you have all the major facts combined, you can then calculate your finances, etc.
  2. Next up, when you have made a list of potential vendors you can proceed. A lot of time vendors tend to give out special deals. Look at all your options. Visit various lenders and you will be asked to give your social security number, date of birth, and name. Then they will run a soft background check and calculate which loan will be provided to you based on your credit score.
  3. Once you pick out a lender, you will then be required to fill out a form which will be an application. It might be a little long but the results will be worth the wait. You will need to have your information on hand.

You can either choose to do this process at the lenders’ office etc or you can do it online. Keep all your personal information and all your financial information on hand. Also, if there is a need for a cosigner then make sure that you have their information with you as well. Having all the data will make this lengthy process smoother and convenient.

How To Take Out A Federal Student Loan?

  1. To get a federal student loan, you need to start with the FAFSA. FAFSA is the most lengthy and time-consuming step of this process, the rest of it will be pretty easy. You can either get the FAFSA form or you can do it online through the FAFSA site FAFSA. As mentioned before, having all your information can make the task 10 times easier so be sure to have everything ready. Especially, you will need to have your financial statements, documents, and your personal information of your parents and yourself. You might be asked for bank statements and tax returns as well to gauge if you qualify or not so keep it already.
  2. Next, once the form is completed and submitted, you will have to leave this step up to the authorities. There is a whole process which the Department of Education goes through. Once approved, they will send the required pieces of information about you to the college you chose. There the financial aid office will keep your information and process you. Once that is done, you will receive a financial aid award letter from your college.
  3. This letter will include all the information which is relevant to you according to your information given to the college by the bank. They will brief you on your options for aid and whether you qualify for grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study programs. It will tell you the amount you can borrow in a particular loan and the types of loan you can avail. It completely depends upon you as to what you choose. You can either pick one or two of the options or all of them, before picking all, keep in mind that you will have to pay it back as well.
  4. Once you have come upon a decision, you will then need to get in touch with your school office that deals with financial aid. . you can tell them which loan(s) you want to avail and they will let you know of the next steps for the process. More than often, they will ask you to attend a few counseling sessions and sign a master promissory note.
  5. Once you receive the loan, the school will most probably take out the required amount for your expenses from the loan and give the rest to you to handle other education-related expenses.

How To Take Out A Student Loan Without Parents?

One might think that getting student loans without parents in the picture might be quite difficult but there are a lot of alternatives. A lot of time you might not have access to their information which may make things difficult. Down below, we will give you some alternatives on how to take out a student plan without parents.

  1. Start by looking for lenders that do not require you to have a cosigner. These people will be open to consider your future income and provide you a loan. It also works if you don’t have a good credit score. These might be private loans and at times the interest rates charged on private loans will be high but it can be a way out for you.
  2. The next option you can go for is unsubsidized loans. This is perfect for all those who want to get a federal loan. If you do not have their required information, then you can just opt for a federal unsubsidized loan without needing access to their information. You can do it in two ways, either you get a dependency override or apply for aid.  Dependency override is if you give your documentation to the Education Department, you will be considered as an independent student. This will help you get dependency override. This is a little rare at times and depends completely on the board as to who they grant it to. Children with abusive families or where the parents leave are considered more.
    The second option was that you can apply for aid without your parents. There is an option in FAFSA which says “I am unable to provide information about my parent(s). By choosing this option, you can take out an unsubsidized loan. It will depend completely on your college as to whether they will be granting you the loan or not.
  3. If you find a loan with low-interest rates and low time length that means you have found a really good one. Now if the loan criteria mention that you need to have a cosigner you can try convincing some close relative or friend to cosign with you. Here the lack of parents can be covered up. You will need to keep in mind that your cosigner should have a steady source of income and a credit score higher than 600.
  4. The Last option is getting the loan as an independent student. These loans are federal as well but there will be more limitations on you. The maximum amount you can borrow will be $57,000you can work on your dependency status by answer ‘yes’ to a minimum one of the dependency questions which are given on the form, You will need to have your current bank statements, the feral income tax return of the previous year, untaxed income records of the previous year, W-2 forms of the previous year, your social security card and your driver’s license (if you have one)


People often ask Is it bad to take out loans for college? Well, the answer is mostly yes. These loans might provide you relief for a particular time but they are harmful in the long run. If you have to then look for federal ones instead of private loans. The federal loans have a fixed interest rate unlike the private ones with variable interest. Research well and look into all the details such as monthly payment, additional fees, total cost, time duration, and then only make an informed and sensible decision for yourself.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.

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