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How to Get a Student Loan

You can use both federal and private student loans to pay for your education. You should try to get federal student loans first, which you can apply for by completing the FAFSA. Then get private student loans to cover your remaining expenses.

If you want to earn a degree, chances are good that you will need to figure out how to get a student loan. Taking on a large amount of debt just to earn a diploma can be intimidating. However, borrowing for school is often a worthwhile investment.

  • How to Get Private Student Loans

How to Get Student Loans

There are two major kinds of student loans available — federal student loans and private student loans — and they are not created equal.

How to Get Federal Student Loans

Getting federal student loans should be the first step for every student looking for educational funding. Federal student loans are available to most students, with some loans available even to people who can’t prove a lot of financial need.

Submit the FAFSA

To apply for federal student aid, you’ll need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can access your FAFSA at, which is the site you’ll go to both when filling out the FAFSA for the first time and when renewing your FAFSA in later school years.

  • Information about your assets and your family’s assets
  • Details about the schools you’ve applied to

Review your Financial Aid Award Letter

After you’ve completed your FAFSA, you’ll receive a letter from each school where you have been accepted. This letter will summarize all of the aid available to you, including scholarships and federal student loans. It will detail the types of loans you qualify for, as well as the amounts.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Undergrads and graduate students can get these loans. Since interest is not subsidized, your loan will start accruing interest as soon as it is disbursed. But you’re still charged a low fixed interest rate and a low origination fee. You do not have to demonstrate financial need to qualify for Direct Subsidized Loans.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: Parents of undergraduate students can get PLUS Loans. So can graduate students. However, no one with an adverse credit history is eligible for PLUS Loans. PLUS loans have fixed interest rates and origination fees which are still fairly low, but they’re higher than what you’d get with Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans: Students with multiple federal loans can become eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan. This would be a new loan used to repay existing federal student debt so the borrower is left with just one monthly payment and one creditor to deal with. Interest rates are a weighted average of the loans that are consolidated.

Finalize your Funding

After you’ve reviewed your federal loan options, you’ll need to reach out to your school’s financial aid office to accept the loans. You’ll only do this at the school you plan to attend. You will have to complete a Master Promissory Note and other final loan paperwork before funds are made available.

How to Get Private Student Loans

Private loans come from different private or publicly traded lenders, unlike federal student loans which all come from the federal government and have standard rates and terms.

  • Details on the school you’re attending
  • Bank and investment account statements
  • Pay stubs or other proof of income

With the help of LendEDU’s blog, tools, and resources, our goal is to assist you in making educated financial decisions. LendEDU: Educated Financial Decisions.