Q: I received my federal financial aid and it is not going to be enough to cover my college costs. Are there any student loans for living expenses that I can apply for?
A: For many, what you receive in federal financial aid will not be adequate to cover your full college expenses, including the costs of living. If you have exhausted all of your scholarship, grant, and federal financial aid for college, you may consider a private student loan. The funds from a private student loan can be used to help you cover the costs of living while attending college, as well as transportation, or anything else you may need related to your college education. As far as any specific student loans for living expenses, these do not exist.
A private student loan can be used to bridge the gap from what your receive in federal financial aid and what your actual college costs are, but in order to reduce the amount of student loan debt you will accumulate, you should consider all other options before a private student loan. Private student loans for living expenses are going to be based on credit, so if you have little credit or bad credit, you will have problems securing this type of student loan without the help of a creditworthy cosigner.
If you are an undergraduate student, you may consider working part-time, getting roommates, or checking to see if your school offers a program for free room and board in exchange for campus work hours, before looking into obtaining a private student loan for your living expenses. Cost reducing options, if available, will be far better than going into private student loan debt, simply to pay your rent.
If you are a graduate student or parent of an undergraduate student, you may consider federal PLUS loans before looking into private student loans to cover living expenses. PLUS loans are a type of federal student loan, and they may offer better terms and interest rates than what you will find with a private student loan. PLUS loans are the only type of federal student loans that will require a credit check, so you will need to have a good credit profile to qualify.
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