Apply for Student Loans

No one wants to apply for student loans. However, millions of students and parents have borrowed to make a higher education affordable. The most basic of questions you may have is, "how do I apply for student loans?" Well, the answer is two-fold as there are two main options—federal student loans and private student loans.

Apply for Federal Student Loans

Applying for federal student loans is easy. In fact, if you have filed the FAFSA you have already applied for federal student loans. The FAFSA is your application for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans and for the federal Perkins loan. If a parent or grad student wants to apply for a Direct PLUS Loan for Parents or Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students, your school's financial aid office will include instructions with your financial aid award letter about requesting those loan programs.

Apply for Private Student Loans

Private student loan applications are a little trickier. First, you need to find a lender who can meet your financing needs. That's where our site can come in handy. You can use our student loan finder to be matched with loan programs.

Our participating lenders have provided specific criteria to help us match prospective borrowers to applicable programs. Some of the things they consider include:

  • The loan amount you require
  • The school you attend or will attend
  • Your level of study (e.g. Freshman, Sophomore, MBA, etc.)
  • Where you live (your permanent home residence)
  • Whether or not you have a co-signer

Once you have found a loan program that meets your needs, you will have to complete the lender's application. Most lenders offer an online application for you to complete, but they may require supplemental forms you need to mail or fax in order to receive your loan.

Finally, private student loans are based on credit and your chances of being approved and receiving a better rate are improved by obtaining cosigner. A cosigner is a creditworthy person who agrees to pay your loan if you do not. Pay careful attention to the terms of your loan, some lenders will allow the cosigner to be released from their obligation if the borrower makes a number of consecutive on-time payments and meets minimum income requirements.