Last Updated: September 8, 2016 2:38:59 PM PDT
Learn what student loans are, what types of loans are available, and how to apply for them. We strongly advise students to borrow only what they need.
Facts about loans:
- Loans are self-help aid funds that you must repay with interest under varying terms and conditions.
- Borrowing is a serious responsibility and can affect your future credit rating.
- Before you borrow, pursue outside agency scholarships.
- You may be eligible for 3 types of loans:
- Federal and university need-based loans (in most cases, the federal government pays the interest on your loan if you meet certain requirements; read more about need)
- Federal non-need-based loans (you pay interest on your loan)
- Alternative loans (offered by private non-government lenders)
- You're required to sign promissory notes and may also need to attend loan counseling sessions before you can receive approved loan money.
- Make sure you're eligible to receive loans (or any other types of financial aid): Review eligibility requirements for undergraduates or graduate students.
To apply for loans:
- For all federal and university loans, and to also be considered for the best types of other financial aid awards, file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year by March 2. You may still apply after March 2 for federal loans.
- Submit any additional documents requested by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office before the May 1 deadline.
- Federal student loans are available to most students regardless of income and provide a range of repayment options including income-based repayment plans and loan forgiveness benefits, which other education loans are not required to provide.
- Follow any additional instructions for specific loan types: