Applying for Your Loan

Virtually all undergraduate loans require both a student signer and a cosigner. Some graduate loans are available to graduate students based on their likelihood of future employment and the fact that they have no serious credit blemishes.

Student loan applications are available on the web and through toll-free numbers. Once you have selected one or more lenders to whom you will apply, you will want to gather basic information for both the student and the cosigner. This includes name, residence addresses for the last 2 years, social security number, place of employment for at last 2 years and credit information. It is usually best to have both the student and the cosigner available at the same time when applying over the phone or on the web. You will also want to select a reference, who is someone not living with you who will know where to find you in the future. Lenders may also require other information, but generally the process is not as complex as, for example, completing a mortgage loan application.

You also must decide how much to apply for. If you have federal student loans you should never apply for more than your Expected Family Contribution, or your federal aid may be "recaptured." This means you may have to pay some of it back if you borrow too much money. If you do not have federal student aid, you should consider the guidance provided by the lender on its website regarding the types of expenses it will finance. The expenses that lenders will finance as part of an education loan will vary from lender to lender, and you should follow their rules carefully. Your school may also provide information on maximum borrowing amounts to all students. This information will be required by federal law in 2010.