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Student Loans

Student Loans for Summer Classes

Updated Jun 18, 2023   |   11-min read

Summer classes like regular school can be paid for with student loans. Our top overall choice College Ave for all private student loans.

Best student loans for certificate programs

If you’re thinking about taking summer classes, chances are one of the biggest questions on your mind is, “How am I going to pay for it?”

Many students find themselves turning to student loans to pay for the majority of their educational expenses. Whether using federal or private loans, students can use these funds to pay for not only their fall and spring costs but also any additional summer classes they choose to take.

Here’s a look at the student loan options available for summer classes and how to apply.

In this guide:

Can you take out student loans for summer school?

Just like fall and spring semesters, lenders will allow you to take out student loans for summer classes. If you plan to attend summer school, you can borrow what you need to pay for tuition, housing, books, fees, and other related school expenses.

If you’ve already applied for and received federal financial aid for the regular school year, you may already have the funds you need. It’s also important to note that there’s no separate application for summer financial aid, including loans. However, that doesn’t automatically mean your federal aid can be applied to summer classes.

First, you’ll need to find out whether you’ve met your federal student loan limits for the year. If you have, you can consider other funding options such as private student loans and even grants.

Are federal student loans available for summer school?

Federal student loans are available for summer classes and educational expenses. As with the regular academic year, these loans could include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Parent PLUS loans
  • Grad PLUS loans

The Department of Education has strict limits on the amount that students can borrow using federal student loans. These limits are based on several factors, including the student’s dependent status and information included on their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), their current year in school, and other financial aid that may have been received.

You should first check with your school, since it may not define the academic year in the same way as the Department of Education. You may need to fill out a new FAFSA depending on which academic year its summer sessions are included. There are strict FAFSA deadlines you’ll need to meet, so it’s important to plan as far ahead as possible to give yourself enough time to apply.

Of course, the regular financial aid eligibility requirements apply: You must be enrolled at least half-time and making satisfactory academic progress to qualify, even during the summer.

>> Read More: What types of student loans are available?

Are private student loans available for summer school?

Federal student loans should always be the first choice before you consider taking out private student loans. That’s because private loan interest rates are typically higher and they come with less favorable repayment terms and protections than their federal counterparts.

With that said, if you’re serious about attending the summer semester and federal loans or grants aren’t an option, private loans could still be a good choice.

Depending on your age and credit history, you will likely need a cosigner to qualify for most private loans. There are student loans for those without a cosigner, but they can be limited—and without a good credit score and high enough income, you still might not qualify.

Make sure to do your research before taking out a private student loan, and understand the costs and risks involved. At the very least, you should compare multiple lenders to find one that has a good interest rate and favorable repayment terms.

Here are reviews of several popular private lenders:

College Ave

Editorial Selection: Best Overall

  • You choose your repayment term
  • 90% of undergraduates are approved for additional loans when applying with a cosigner
  • Apply in just 3 minutes

College Ave is a student loan lender that offers loans for undergraduates, graduates, and parents, as well as student loan refinancing. These loans can cover up to 100% of your educational costs—including summer school—without any application, origination, or early repayment fees.

The application process takes about three minutes online. Loan terms range from five to 15 years, with repayment options such as full deferment, full repayment, interest-only payments while in school, or a flat $25 monthly payment until graduation.

Eligibility requirements for summer class financing

  • Loans must be a minimum of $1,000.
  • Students are required to meet satisfactory academic progress standards in order to borrow additional funds.
  • Multi-Year Peace of Mind means that undergraduate borrowers are automatically prequalified for additional funding that they may need to complete their degree program—such as money for summer classes—once they qualify with a cosigner.
  • The vast majority of student borrowers will need a cosigner, but they can be released from their loan obligation after certain conditions are met.

Sallie Mae

Editorial Selection: Best for Cosigners

  • Selecting an in-school repayment plan will lead to a lower interest rate
  • Cosigners can be released after 12 consecutive, on-time monthly payments are made

Founded in 1973, Sallie Mae is one of the oldest—and largest—student loan lenders in the US. It offers private student loans to undergraduates, graduates, and parents in all 50 states, with a variety of loan repayment options.

Terms range from five to 15 years, and borrowers can either make fixed monthly payments or interest-only repayments while in school, or defer repayment until after graduation.

The application process takes about 10 minutes online. The time from application to loan disbursement is 10 days on average. There are no origination, application, or early repayment fees through Sallie Mae, and a 0.25% APR discount is offered to borrowers who sign up for autopay.

Cosigners, while often required, are able to be released from their loan obligation after just 12 consecutive, on-time payments.

Eligibility requirements for summer class financing

  • Most student borrowers will require a cosigner, especially if they have a limited income and/or credit history.
  • Students can be taking online summer classes or attending on-campus.
  • There is no full-time enrollment requirement; students can also be half-time or less-than-half-time and still qualify.
  • Sallie Mae student loans can also be used to pay for summer professional certification courses or even a study abroad program.


Editorial Selection: Best for Eligibility

  • Free access to Ascent’s success coaching program for undergraduate borrowers
  • 1% cash back reward after graduating
  • Check your rate with no impact on your credit

Ascent is one of the few lenders that have options for undergraduate or graduate borrowers who wish to forgo adding a cosigner. It even has options for international and DACA students.

Ascent’s private student loans can cover up to 100% of your summer educational expenses with an application that takes only minutes to complete online.

Repayment begins after a nine-month grace period, and a progressive repayment option is available to borrowers who need to make lower payments right after graduation. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% APR discount for autopay, but non-cosigned/outcomes-based loans also qualify for an additional 1% discount, and student borrowers can enjoy a 1% cash back reward after graduating.

Cosigners, if added, can be removed from the loan after 12 consecutive, on-time payments.

Eligibility requirements for summer class financing

  • Students can borrow with or without a cosigner, depending on factors like their grade level, degree program, and GPA.
  • Students must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program at an accredited school.
  • A minimum student and/or cosigner credit score is required, though Ascent does not disclose this number.


Editorial Selection: Best for No Fees

  • No fees
  • Option to skip one payment per year
  • Check your rate without impacting your credit

Summer student loans through Earnest are available to undergrads, graduate students, and even parents. Earnest loans have a standard grace period of nine months, with repayment terms ranging from five to 15 years.

Borrowers can prequalify online, and the application process considers more than just your credit score. So, you may be able to qualify for a summer school loan without a cosigner, even if you don’t have excellent credit. However, Earnest does require undergraduate borrowers to be enrolled in a four-year Title IV institution to qualify.

There are no origination, application, or early repayment fees, and Earnest allows borrowers to skip one payment annually after they graduate and begin repaying their loans. Like with federal loans, Earnest offers deferment and forbearance options to student borrowers going through financial hardship.

Eligibility requirements for summer class financing

  • Students can take out cosigned and non-cosigned loans.
  • During the application process, Earnest will consider factors beyond just your credit history and income.
  • Students must be attending a four-year Title IV institution.
  • Loans start at $1,000, up to 100% of your educational expenses.


Editorial Selection: Best Good Grades Reward

  • Get a cash reward for good grades on each new student loan
  • No fees

Discover offers private student loans to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students, in addition to parent and consolidation loans. If you’re considering Discover for your summer class loans, funding starts at $1,000 and maxes out at 100% of your educational expenses.

Discover is one of the few lenders that does not have a cosigner release option, so removing your cosigner’s obligation will require you to refinance your loans down the line.

Eligibility requirements for summer class financing

  • Students must be enrolled at least half-time in a bachelor’s or associate’s degree program.
  • Applicants must be 16 or older.
  • Loans start at $1,000, up to 100% of the cost of attendance.
  • With the Multi-Year Option, eligible student borrowers are prequalified for future semesters, saving them the hassle (and additional credit check) involved with applying for new loans.

When should you apply for student loans for summer school?

Deciding when to apply for summer student loans depends on the type of loan(s) you plan to use when paying for that semester. For example, federal student loans have no “summer” option, so you’ll need to have that funding in place during the regular school year.

If you run over your federal loan allowance or run out of money prior to the summer semester, you won’t be able to request additional funds.

If you plan to borrow private loans to pay for summer school, you can either add those costs at the beginning of the fall or spring semesters or apply for a new loan right before the summer session begins. Be sure to check lenders to see if any specific summer loan requirements or timelines apply.

How do you repay summer school student loans?

Summer student loans are repaid the same as fall and spring student loans. If you choose to defer your repayment until after graduation, you won’t have to worry about paying your loan principal or interest until after you drop below your lender’s required enrollment. In some cases, this might mean a six- or even nine-month grace period after graduation, or after you stop taking classes at least half-time.

If you opt for private summer student loans, you may be able to choose from full deferment or a partial repayment option while you’re still in school. In that case, you could choose to make interest-only payments while enrolled, or even pay a flat monthly payment (such as $25) until you graduate.

Are there other financial aid options?

There are many different grants and summer scholarships specifically designed for summer classes. If you don’t have any student aid leftover after the fall and spring semesters, see if your school, state, or even certain local organizations offer a program.

For instance, Pell Grants are based on financial need and can be a good source of funding for summer school. However, you can only receive Pell Grants for 12 terms, or semesters. Depending on your degree program and how long it takes you to complete your schooling, adding Pell Grants for summer school can mean that you run out of available funding before graduating.

If you’re already maxed out or need to save your Pell Grants for the fall or spring—and you can’t find additional grant programs for which you may qualify—it’s time to check out your other scholarship options. For example, you may qualify for a scholarship based on your school, major, academic record, or a number of other factors.