Trying to find money for college is no easy feat, and finding no cosigner student loans may seem like a daunting
task for someone heading to college for the first time. If you’re coming straight out of high school, or even if
you are in your early 20’s, you might not have a credit score built up yet and that makes it really hard to get a
standard loan. Most institutions will require a cosigner for that type of loan. Luckily the federal government has
made it somewhat easy to apply for and even get the loan for college.
Your first step in getting a no cosigner student loan will be to fill out the FAFSA. This process has been
completely automated now, meaning that if you have access to the Internet, you can do the entire thing online and
not worry about having to mail anything in. If you are still living at home with your parents, make sure you wait
until they have filed their taxes for last year as that information is necessary for the FAFSA. (I noticed when I
did mine this year that they have even integrated the feature to retrieve your tax information automatically,
making it even easier to get this form done.) Make sure and get your application done as soon as possible as the
money is given out on a first come, first served basis.
There are two types of federal no
cosigner student loans that you are actually applying for during this process. The first of those two is called
the Direct Stafford Loan. The Direct Stafford Loan is itself divided into two more categories: the subsidized and
the unsubsidized loans. Subsidized just means that it’s backed by the United States government and you must
demonstrate financial need to get it. The unsubsidized loan does not force you to demonstrate financial need and is
available to everyone based on your university’s financial allotment for that year. The biggest difference in the
two is when the interest begins. With the subsidized loan, the interest doesn’t begin until you leave school,
either through graduation or for other reasons; with unsubsidized loans the interest begins the day you get the
money. You do have the option to pay on the interest immediately, though, to keep it from getting out of hand as
you work your way through college. The interest rates change yearly, so it’s important that you check the federal
student financial aid website for details. Also be sure to check with your school’s financial aid department as the
deadlines are set by the individual schools.
The second of the student loans with no
cosigners you can apply for is the Perkins Loan. To quote the United States Department of Education, “The
Federal Perkins Loan Program provides low-interest loans to help needy students finance the costs of postsecondary
education.” This loan is always subsidized, you don’t start making payments on it until 9 months after you have
left college, and you have up to 10 years to pay off the loan. Depending on the year you finish college, there are
even programs available to people who take certain teaching, military, or public service positions (with
pre-defined stipulations) for having their loans cancelled, meaning that you will not have to repay it at all.
Each of the no cosigner student loans available from the
government has a cap per year, and that cap increases with each level of college. For example, freshman are allowed
a certain amount, sophomores a higher amount, and senior are allowed the highest amount. The cap takes into account
both the subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Thousands of soon-to-be college students become stressed out every year
looking for the money to go to college. Many of them don’t know where to look and can get confused when trying to
figure out what the rules and allowances are for each type of financial aid allotment. Planning ahead, doing your
due diligence, and taking the time to read and research your options carefully will take a lot of the stress out of
finding no cosigner student loans for college.