We often get asked about student loans for community college, and if student loans for community college are any different than student loans for four year schools? The simple answer is “no”, there is virtually no difference in applying for student loans for community college and receiving student loans for community college. With the rising price of (four year) college, community college is a becoming a wise alternative to to save money. Even if you plan on receiving a Bachelors degree from a four year private or state university, a community college can be a great way to complete your first two (or more) years of credits before transferring to a four year school. Lets take a look at the process for obtaining student loans for community college:
Before Student Loans for Community College:
Just as with students planning on attending four year colleges, students planing on attending community college should first look into their free money options, before looking into student loans. Unlike student loans, free money options such as scholarships, grants, and other loan alternatives will not need to be repaid by the student. Finding and applying for scholarships and grants may not be as easy as applying for student loans, but if you can graduate college with very minimal student loan debt, think about how nice that would be!
Federal Student Loans for Community College:
Once you have applied for all of the scholarships and grants you are eligible for, next you can move on to applying for federal student loans. Applying for federal student loans is done the same way for all college students, regardless if they are attending a community college or a four year college, you need to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). FAFSA is your direct link to obtaining federal student loans for college and possibly even federal grants. For some reason many community college students think that they can not file the FAFSA, or that they are not eligible for federal student loans because they are attending community college, this is a huge misconception. Any community college student who is attending college pat-time (half-time) needs to file a FAFSA, chances are you are eligible for some type of federal student loans for college. Since federal student loans are less expensive than private student loans, you do not want to miss out on your opportunity to secure federal student loans if you are eligible for them. Do not miss the FAFSA application deadline or you may miss out on your opportunity to obtain the best kind of loans for community college.
Private Student Loans for Community College:
When funding your community college education, the last type of student loans you will want to utilize are private student loans. Since private student loans are not regulated in the same way that federal student loans are, they tend to be the most expensive type of student loan. What makes private student loans more expensive then federal student loans:
1. Private student loans typically have much higher interest rates.
2. Private student loans have variable interest rates.
3. Private student loans do not offer as many repayment options (compared to federal loans).
4. Private student loans are based on credit history.
If you do find yourself in need of a private student loan to help pay for community college, you need to know that all private student loans are not created equal. It is very important to do your research and understand all of the terms and conditions before locking into any private student loan. Since private student loans are based on credit history, if you have poor or little credit history, securing a private student loan may not be possible without the help of a credit worthy cosigner.