Student Loan

Financial Dictionary -> Loans -> Student Loan

In planning for college, one of the most important things to plan for, in addition to the college you choose and your major, is how you'll pay for your education. A college education can be costly and often students do not get enough grants and scholarships to pay for their tuition in full. Often the student cannot afford to attend college without some type of financial aid. When all other avenues for free money, or money you do not have to pay back, it's time to look toward student loans.

Applying for a student loan can be easy. Most times you can apply online without leaving the comfort of your home. A typical example would be Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is the leading provider of student loans in the United States. When you apply online, you have the option of checking loan status, co-signing a loan for someone else, signing your loan application electronically, and making payments. Applying for and managing a student loan could not be simpler. In addition to Sallie Mae, there are other student loan options. You may secure a student loan through Wells Fargo, or your financial institution.

The first thing you should do when considering a student loan is to fill out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It will take about two hours to complete and, before you start, you should have your Social Security number, your driver's license, income tax returns, bank statements and investment records. If you're qualifying using your parents' income, you'll need the same information from them. You should apply as soon after January 1st each year; also check with your school for their deadline. If you are Canadian citizen you can apply for the Canada Student Loans Program for financial aid. The program grants loans for Canadians attending a University, College, Trade School, or Vocational School.

About 4 weeks after you apply for FAFSA, you'll receive a report to show you how much financial aid you qualify for. It's called a Student Aid Report. You'll want to choose a lender in case you will not have enough grants, scholarships and federal loans to cover your college expenses. After that, your college will probably require you go through entrance counseling. This will help you understand the specifics of your loan.