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How to Apply for a Student Loan

August 5th, 2011 at 06:41 pm

Attending school to further your education is admirable, but itís not free and a lot of people simply canít afford it. Fortunately, by requesting a student loan you may be able to overcome your lack of funds and get a college degree. Student loans can be used to pay for courses at campus-based schools and

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accredited online colleges. Following are a few tips on how to apply for a student loan.

Financial Aid Counseling

It may be a good idea to seek financial aid counseling before taking out a student loan. In some cases, it may even be mandatory. The counseling process will help you understand your commitment and provide you with help in the application process. Since itís possible that this will be the first loan youíve taken out, you will need to be apprised of your duties and responsibilities before and after the process. Taking out a loan is not a small matter. Loans are expected to be paid back, and financial aid counseling will help you understand the process.

Get Organized

Prior to filling out an application, you need to gather all the pertinent information youíll need. Organize the information so it will be readily at hand when you begin the application process. You will need your tax return information from the previous year as well as the tax information of your parents. You will need to know your driverís license number, social security number, and have access to all pertinent bank account information, including recent bank statements. If you or your parents have a mortgage or investments that information will also be needed. By getting organized in advance the application process will go much more smoothly.

Fill Out the Form

The first step in the application process is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You can access this form by going to the Internet website, By following the instruction on the website you can begin filling out the form. You must fill out the FAFSA each and every year you expect to receive help; it doesnít carry over from year to year. Your qualifications for receiving student loans are reevaluated each year, because your financial situation may have changed. The application must be filled out line by line, which is why itís important to have your documents at hand. You will be assigned a PIN number, which is how you can access the form. This number is important, so memorize it, or keep it somewhere close by.

There Is a Deadline

The FAFSA form must be completed and sent in before the end of June for the upcoming school period. This deadline may vary depending on the state you live in, but usually the funds are dispersed between the middle of February and the 1st of July. In order to be sure youíll receive your allotted funds, providing you qualify, it would be a good idea to find out what the deadline is in your state. You can verify the deadline on the FAFSA website.

You Must Meet the Eligibility Requirements

There are a lot of things that are taken into consideration before you are deemed eligible to receive a student loan. The amount of the loan, if you are qualified to receive one, also varies depending on how much money you or your family can contribute to your education. While youíre waiting to hear whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements you can get an idea of how much you could receive by visiting the Internet website, On that website there is an EFC (Expected Family Contribution) calculator which will help you determine the extent of your potential financial aid. Enter the information youíre asked for and the calculator will give you an estimated total. Among the factors the government checks on while determining whether or not you qualify for a federal student loan is the amount of tuition youíll be paying as well as how much money your parents have available to them.

Hurry Up and Wait

After youíve filled out the FAFSA form youíll be anxious to find out the results and see if you qualify for financial assistance. Be patient. The average wait time is somewhere between four and six weeks. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will receive a check before the school year begins.

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