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Categorized | Financial Aid

Getting Approved and Securing Education Loans

With the cost of college education higher than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly necessary for more and more students to take out loans to pay for it.

Unfortunately, it’s not always quite so easy as simply going up to lenders, telling them you need money, and walking off with a check. You need to meet their eligibility requirements in order to be approved, and these can vary greatly depending on the type of loan you’re trying to get and the lender you’re working with.

In general, there are two types of higher education loans – government loans and private loans. If you can get them, government loans are almost always the preferable option because the rates tend to be lower, and for many of them your interest will even be covered while you are still attending school. One of the best of these types of loans is the subsidized Stafford loan, which carries with it an ultra-low 3.4% interest rate.

But how can you get approved for these amazing loans? It all starts with filling out the FAFSA form, which will determine which federal grants and loans you qualify for. But what does that really mean?

You have to show your need.

Government loans like the subsidized Stafford loan are generally reserved for those students who have the greatest need (meaning they don’t have even close to the amount of money to pay for their education) and have already exhausted all of the grants available to them. One thing that’s interesting about “need” is that it isn’t just based on the family’s income, but also the cost of the university the student will be attending. What that means is that if you decide to go to a school that costs more and you don’t have much money, you’ll actually be more likely to get better loans than someone who chooses to go to a less expensive state school.

And you’d better not miss deadlines.

Federal programs like the Perkins loan have different deadlines at every school, so you really need to do a good job of staying up-to-date with how things work at your university. Otherwise, you might miss the deadline, and if that’s the case you’re going to be out of luck for that year and will likely have to turn to a private lender to pay for your education – that’s where things get more complicated.

While private lenders have standards for student loans that are generally more relaxed than those for, say, people wanting to take out a mortgage on a home, there is one notable exception… see next bullet.

You’ll need a co-signer.

Unless you have a trust fund (in which case, why are you getting a loan?), most lenders require student borrowers to have a co-signer for their loans. Typically, this is a parent or guardian who agrees to pay back the amount if their son or daughter is for some reason unable to do so. There are “escape clauses” for parents to get out of this requirement, but often they are harder to meet than they initially seem.

Beyond this, most lenders care very little about college-bound kids’ credit history, missed payments, past loan defaults, or current earnings for one very simple reason – they’re believed to have great upside since they are essentially training for their future careers where they will ostensibly be earning a lot more money. Basically, lenders for the most part take the attitude that even college students with past financial difficulties haven’t really begun their adult lives. And, of course, if things don’t quite go according to plan, they’ve always got mom and dad on the hook for the money.

Author Bio

Today’s guest article is provided by Aileen Pablo. Aileen is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading providers of Distance Education. When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career. She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines. You can find her on Google+

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