When to Get Student Loans | 04.16.13
Families everywhere are currently sweating over financial aid award letters, trying to decipher aid and make the huge decision about which school is the right choice for both the student, and family finances. However, once the college decision is made, there is still a lot to do, including applying for student loans!
To help families through this award letter season, here is a breakdown of how and when to accept—or apply for—all types of student loans.
Perkins and Stafford Loans
When to Accept: April-May for Fall semester
How: For these loans, students can simply accept their loan amounts through the financial aid office. To finalize the acceptance and before they can receive the loan funds, students must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at StudentLoans.gov and complete an entrance counseling session as directed by the school.
When to Apply: April-May for Fall semester
How: PLUS Loans for parents and graduate students are typically listed on the student’s financial aid award letter, as they are part of the federal aid package through the FAFSA. Because a credit check is required for these, parents or students should contact the financial aid office of the chosen school in order to apply. The school will take it from there, running a credit check, and disbursing the loan once the MPN has been signed.
Private Student Loans
When to Apply: April-August for Fall semester
How: Private student loans are the last resort for families. The application process should therefore happen after all federal aid has been accepted. The busiest time for student loan lenders is July through early August, so to avoid the rush, it’s best to apply as soon as possible. There is no application deadline for private loans, and they are available year round. Borrowers should be prepared for the whole process to take anywhere from 15 to 90 days.
It’s as simple as that! For any questions throughout the process, families should contact their school’s financial aid office, as some processes are school-specific.
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