If you need to apply for student loans, the process you’ll follow is dependent on the loan type.
Federal Student Loans
- Fill out the FAFSA: First, complete the FAFSA. While the federal deadline isn’t until June, state and school deadlines can be much earlier. To give yourself the best chance of getting financial aid, submit the FAFSA as early as possible in the year.
- Complete the CSS Profile: Some schools use the CSS profile to determine who receives non-federal aid, such as institutional scholarships or grants. Complete the CSS profile early on in the year to increase your chances of winning an award.
- Review your offer letter: When colleges send you an acceptance letter, they will contain financial aid information, including federal student loans. The letter will include details on how to accept the offered financial aid.
Private Student Loans
With private student loans, the process is more straightforward. You can shop around with multiple lenders. Many companies will allow you to get a rate quote with just a soft credit inquiry, which has no impact on your credit score.
Once you find a lender and rate that works for you, you can submit your application. The lender will ask for details like:
- Your name
- Social Security number
- School name
- Employment information
- Rent or mortgage payments
If you have insufficient income or too low of a credit score, you can also add a cosigner to your application.
Once you submit the application, the lender will review your application and decide whether or not to issue you a loan. In most cases, you’ll receive a decision within a couple of business days.