Not everyone that goes to college is a legal adult. Many are still just under the age of 18, and there are always the whiz kids who somehow make it to college even younger! If you need to pay for college and are under 18, there are still ways for you to get loans. Here's how to get a student loan as a minor.
Research your options. There's a lot of money out there to assist you for school.
Talk to a financial aid advisor. They are very familiar with the process and may have recommendations that you have not considered.
Get a co-signer. Have a parent, grandparent or any other person in good credit standing to assume responsibility for the loan if you can't handle it on your own.
Visit the FAFSA Web site (see below) and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Federal loans (like the Stafford loan) do not require a co-signer. The minimum age to be eligible for federal aid is 16.
Get a parent loan (like the PLUS loan). These are loans for education from the government that are given to the parent of a student. These are need-based as well, and will depend highly on the cost of attendance.
Understand all the terms of the loan. Young borrowers do not have a lot of experience with borrowing money and building credit.
- While you don't need to be 18 to get federal aid, you DO need to have a high school education or its equivalent. Get your GED or pass an ability-to-benefit test.
- Filling out the FAFSA is an essential step for anyone attending college, regardless of age. The FAFSA will often yield feasible options for funding your education.
- Eligibility requirements for private loans vary by state. It can be very difficult to get a loan even with a co-signer, so talk to your financial aid counselor for help.
- The student's credit rating usually doesn't matter if you have a reliable co-signer.
- In most states, a student must wait until they are 18 to enter into a loan agreement with a private lender. Even then they often must have a co-signer, as few 18-year-olds have much of a credit history.
- Spend your money wisely. Student loans are usually applied to tuition first, then the school will cut you a check for the remainder, assuming that you will spend the money on books, rent, transportation, computer software and hardware, and other expenses essential to school.