Before applying for private student loans, it’s best to look at other sources of financial aid first and speak to someone in your school’s financial aid office. It’s recommended that you use a 4-step approach to get the funds you need:
- Look for educational funding you don’t have to pay back, like scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities.
- Fill out a FAFSA® form to apply for federal student loans. Most federal student loans don’t require a credit check or a cosigner and offer federal programs if you’re struggling with payments.
- Consider asking a parent to look at federal parent loans. The Parent PLUS loan is issued directly to parents or guardians of current students.
- Look at a private student loan to cover any differences between your total cost of attendance and the amount not included in steps 1-3.
To learn more about federal student loan programs, visit the U.S. Department of Education. You can also fill out a free application for federal student aid or FAFSA® here.
The best private student loans should give you a low-interest rate that will complement your federal financial aid. Keep in mind that you will accumulate interest on both federal student loans and private student loans over time.