Acceptance to the college of your choice may be far less complicated than funding the education. According to MSNBC, approximately 65 percent of students usually need some form of financial assistance for college along the way. But, luckily there are financial alternatives available to cover the staggering tuition cost of most collegiate institutions within the United States. Some student loans require only that you apply, as the approval requirements are quite minimal, making them feasible to obtain regardless of credit establishment. Applying for student loans can be done with ease as long as you know where to look.
Apply for federal student aid. The federal Pell grant program is an income-based program designed to meet the financial needs of college students. The best aspect of the program is that funds received do not have to be repaid and there is no fixed grant amount, as reward sums are based on the cost of tuition. In best-case scenarios, federal student aid can cover partial or full tuition, eliminating the need for student loans. But, if you don't qualify, the program can still provide you with further financial assistance (see Resources).
Start with Sallie Mae. As one of the most reputable student loan providers, Sallie Mae has several forms of financial assistance. In most cases, loans are the best way to start. These loans come with low, fixed interest rates and do not have extensive credit requirements for approval. In most cases, a student with little or no credit can acquire subsidized loans through Sallie Mae without the assistance of a co-signer.
Branch out to private and signature loan providers if federal Pell grants and loans are not enough to cover all of your costs. Banking institutions such as Sallie Mae, Chase, Bank of America, SunTrust and Wells Fargo are the most reputable. Private and signature loans should be your last resort, as they have much higher interest rates and approval requirements. Students usually need co-signers with established credit, laudable and consistent income history, revolving accounts, major assets and few financial liabilities.
- Know exactly how much you need to borrow before filling out any student loan applications.
- Borrow only what you absolutely need. Borrowing in excess will lead to monumental stress and financial liability after you graduate.
- Each school has a numeric code which entails its cost of attendance. This automatically puts a cap on the amount you can borrow each year. Therefore, you will be allowed a specified amount per year with any loan.
- Pay close attention to the interest rates on signature and private student loans. While they may not matter much at the moment, they will matter later. A bad interest rate can leave you paying almost double the amount of the loan principle, which can put you in a serious financial hole.
- Stick with reputable lenders. While there are hundreds of student loan lenders, not all of them are legitimate.