How Do You Get a Student Loan?


Quick Answer

Get a student loan from your school that is backed by the federal government by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, or by applying with a private lender, such as Sallie Mae. Federal student loans include Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for students or Direct PLUS Loans for students or parents, according to the United States Department of Education.

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How Do You Get a Student Loan?
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Full Answer

To get a federal student loan, an applicant first has to fill out a FAFSA, which is then submitted to the school the applicant plans on attending. Once the school receives the FAFSA, they put together a financial aid offer for the student, which can include both grants and loans. If the student wants to accept the offer, he or she first has to attend entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note, or MPN.

According to the United States Department of Education, the advantages of getting a federal loan are that these loans usually have a lower interest rate versus private loans, the interest rate is the same for everyone and there isn't a credit check for most loans. Compare that with a private student loan, where the student needs a qualifying credit score or a cosigner to get approved and interest rates vary depending on the quality of the student's or cosigner's credit, according to FinAid.

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