Common Student Loan Requirements [Get Approved for your student loan]

If you've decided to take a student loan to help cover your tuition costs, there are certain requirements you will have to fulfill certain criteria's. Learn more about the requirements for federal and private student loans. Choose the right loan for you and much more.

Updated by Priya Shah on 24th February 2020

Student loans vary with different rates, types, and categories. Student loans are not created equal. Some do offer low rates whereas some do offer a high rate. Some student loans have high borrower security, as some don’t have. And definitely, it is not that there is a set rule that works best for each, and this is translated into requirements required for qualifying for the loan.

Student Loans have two main categories:

  1. Private student loan

  2. Federal student loan

Each private lender will have their own set of specific criteria, but there are certain common student loan requirements we’ve observed across the various lenders out there. Here is an in-depth understanding of these common student loan requirements whether it be private or federal.

Table of contents 

Private student loan requirement

The private student loans are worth considering after exhausting yourself of your federal student loan options, but federal student loans are usually the better option than private student loans.

A private student loan is offered on the basis of a strong credit score, and a cosigner which is the basic terms and conditions. Private student loans always have a greater rate of interest than federal student loans. And most of the terms and conditions that are involved are not even part of federal student loans.

They have completely different rules and regulations with terms and conditions as well. The rate of interest varies from lender to lender and can be fixed or variable.

In order to qualify we have 5 requirements that must be qualified to get our loan approved:

1) Must have considerable age, education, and citizenship

we have a set of requirements related to age, education and nationality status for eligibility for the private student loan.

Age: Students must be above 18 or beyond that.

Education: He should be a high school diploma or equivalent to that with a home school certificate.

Citizenship: the requirement of eligibility for citizenship can be tricky for international students. If u have U.S citizenship or are a legal resident then you may be eligible for the student loan criteria as an international student.

2) Use of loan for educational expenses

The costs for college is intended to be covered by the private student loan, so we need to use them accordingly for educational expenses.  For the verification, the lender may communicate with the student college financial aid, where the school must certify the amount that is to be borrowed, confirming the cost of attendance and allowing the lender to verify about the aid you have received. After the certification from school or college, the fund you applied for is likely to release the amount leftover after all the incurred expenses, the amount is to be returned to you back, which can be used for books and other expenses. 

NOTE: those extra amounts will still be part of your loan.

3) Credit and income criteria

Private student loans mostly give emphasis on credit score, if you are enrolling for a federal student loan you don’t have to worry about it but for private student loans, it is given a high priority. The area that needs to be focused if you want to approve your private student loan is

  • Income

  • Credit history

  • Debt to income ratio

For the credibility of the loan, they will make sure you don’t have any default on loans that are likely to check your credit score in order to see how reliable are you with your debts. You must be thinking about how good your credit score needs to be? Well, that definitely depends on your lenders, it not specific but must be in the mid 600s or probably higher. Below that level, you may not qualify for the student loan.  So as per credit score if it moves ahead and id between 700 and 800, you may not only qualify but you may get a loan for a very low rate of interest.     

4) Be able to apply with a creditworthy cosigner

If you are a student you may not have a very strong credit history but still, you are in the requirement for the loan that the option for this is you can apply with a  cosigner. And most of the undergraduate student issues their loan with a cosigner, as per the data firm “measure one”.

The cosigner is the one who share responsibility for your debt. so if you are paying off the loan or not paying the loan can directly hit the cosigner.

Till the loan borrowed is not paid back the cosigner is stuck with the borrower. Certain lenders do have the option of releasing the cosigner just after months of one-time repayment, so if you make a steady process on payment on the loan the cosigner is more likely to be released and get their name cleared off the debt.  

5) Enrolled at school

You have to be a student in order to qualify. It’s required to enroll at least not more but half time at your school. Most of the graduate schools have four years of qualification, two-year community college and trade school are not eligible for the private student loan. Most of the private student loans are specified for community colleges or vocational students. They even though have offered for the students attending two-year program or trade schools. 

The options about the loans are precisely available if you are not sure about qualifying because of your school, you can speak to your private lender for any queries and can even talk to your financial aid office.

Federal student loan requirement

As mentioned before federal student loans are one of the best loan options, offering the best protection for the borrower when compared to private student loans. Comparatively, a federal student loan has a lesser rate of interest than a private student loan. If you are not able to pay your payments that are not affordable,  you can switch to an income-driven plan in order to defer payments in case if you lose your job.

In order to get a federal student loan one has to fill up the free application for federal student aid(FAFSA) form, based on this form one can determine their eligibility. If you are looking to get a direct subsidized loan one has to show financial hardship on the FAFSA form.  

What type of federal student loan can I get?

Here are the types of federal student loans one can get - 

1) Direct subsidized loan: Those loans specially assigned for undergraduates with financial hardships. In this loan, you don’t have to pay the interest accrued until you are in school.

2) Direct Unsubsidized loan: They are the most common type of federal loan that is available for both graduate and undergraduate students, and they accrue interest while you are in school and later on the interest is capitalized( added to your main balance), at the end of the grace period.

3) Grand plus loans:  Those are the loans for graduates and professionals where they don’t have borrowing limits and don’t consider borrower credit. But they will definitely check your credit score just to be sure you don’t have a negative mark like bankruptcy or any default on your credit report. To be sure how reliable are you with your debts.

4) Parent plus loan: those loans are specially for those parents with dependent undergraduate students. The loan is borrowed by the parent on behalf of the undergraduate students. This loan requires a tarnish-free credit history in order to qualify.  

Limit of the amount that can be  borrowed for federal loans

As per your qualifications, you can take multiple loans but they have a particular limit based on your loan type, your school, and your dependency that if you are dependent or independent. They also have a limit on how much you can borrow through the entire period of your graduation. The total limits for a graduate whose borrowers include loans that are borrowed as undergraduate. 

Interest rates on federal loans

Congress is the body that sets interest rates for all those types of federal student loans.  But new rates are applied to new loans. Once the rate is fixed you locked through all the period till the loan exists.  

Choose the right Student Loan

Student loans are a great way to tackle your college tuition, it is advised to have an in-depth knowledge of all the parameters involved in choosing the best student loan for you. Before choosing the loan always go for something that meets all your requirements, you may be eligible for a private loan or federal loans but as mentioned you choose the loan for the best rate that is beneficial and affordable for you. Some lenders make you apply for quick rates to see preliminary offers in order to democratize financial needs for a loan.

The low interest makes you save you more in the long run. Always try to consider the other factors like repayment option, forgiveness and much more. A private student loan helps you cover up your expenses in need but do not have the benefits like those associated with federal student loans.