How to Get Emergency Student Loans Quick
If you find yourself in an emergency and need to come up with money quickly, you may be able to use federal student loans or private student loans. You could also try asking your financial aid office for an extended payment plan.
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Tuition isn’t the only college expense that students have to grapple with. High living costs can leave college students strapped for cash and struggling to get by. So, what if an emergency expense arises?
Most students will face emergency expenses, such as unexpected car repairs or health-related expenses, while they are in school. An unexpected expense can even include covering your tuition payment if you just realized a month before the semester starts that you don’t have enough financial aid.
If you find yourself in a desperate financial situation, emergency student loans can help. There are short-term loans available to help students get through unexpected events.
This article will explain where you can find emergency student loans and how to apply for them.
Steps to Getting Emergency Student Loans:
How to Get Emergency Student Loans
Step #1: File the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in securing an emergency student loan. Ideally, you would have filled one out already, but the government accepts FAFSAs throughout the year.
Filling out the FAFSA automatically qualifies you for federal student loans of at least $5,500.
But what if you already filed a FAFSA and turned down the money, thinking you didn’t need it? This is actually good news—there’s no need to panic. As long as you filed a FAFSA that same academic year, you are allowed to accept the funds.
Contact your financial aid office, and let them know about your situation. They can walk you through the process of requesting the amount you need.
Step #2: Apply for Private Student Loans
Next, you can apply for private loans for college. The interest rates will likely be higher than federal student loans, but they can be a good funding option if you are already hit your federal limits.
The application requirements will vary depending on the lender you choose. But as a general rule, you’ll need to provide documentation proving citizenship, your identity, income, and school information. If you have poor credit history or limited cash flow, your lender will require you to use a co-signer that can benefit your loan terms.
The lender will usually distribute the money to the school within a few days or weeks. Once tuition is covered, your school can give you any leftover funds via ACH transfer or check. You can use this student loan money for living expenses and other costs you may have.
Step #3: Ask Your College for a Different Payment Plan or Extension
If you are still unable to meet your financial obligations or fund your emergency situation, contact your financial aid office. They may be able to set you up with an affordable payment plan, or grant you a temporary extension. Here is how both options work:
- Payment plans for tuition: Payment plans let you spread out your tuition in affordable monthly or bi-monthly payments. Most schools don’t charge interest, but there may be a service fee for signing up.
- Temporary extension: Some colleges will be willing to grant you an extension on paying your tuition. However, this is usually reserved for extreme cases such as illness or a sudden death in the family. And it’s important to remember that an extension is simply delaying your financial obligation, not providing a long-term remedy.
If your college’s financial aid office doesn’t offer payment plans or extensions, they may be able to refer you to a private company that can help.
Final Thoughts on Emergency Loans for Students
Students often run out of money right before the semester starts, so emergency student loans are more common than you may expect. According to a 2016 Edvisors study, an estimated 64 percent of students ran out of money before the end of the semester at some point in their college career. And half of the participants said unexpected expenses caused their financial problems.
Whatever the reason for your situation, it’s important to take action quickly and reach out for help. Your academic advisor and financial aid office are there to help you. They can help you identify additional sources of funding, or, at the very least, help you plan for the following semester. The sooner you contact them, the better.
Author: Jeff Gitlen