Applying for student loans involves several steps:
- Understand Your Options: Before applying for a student loan, exhaust all other financial aid. Understand your student loan options.
- Gather Financial Information: Gather all your financial information.
- Complete the FAFSA: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal FAFSA deadline is June 30, but college and state deadlines are often much sooner.
- Submit a CSS Profile: Submit a CSS profile for institutional financial aid. To qualify, you must submit the CSS profile.
- Review Your Financial Aid Award Letter: Review your financial aid award letter.
- Decide: Decide if applying for student loans is right for you.
Remember, federal student loans usually have more benefits than loans from banks or other private sources. The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. There are four types of Direct Loans available:
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
The maximum amount you can borrow each year in Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans ranges from $5,500 to $12,500 per year, depending on what year you are in school and your dependency status. If you are a graduate or professional student, you can borrow up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans.