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 26th August 2020

Student loans vary with different rates, types, and categories. Student loans are not created equal. Some do offer low rates, whereas some do provide a high rate. Some student loans have high borrower security, as some don’t have. 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 -- Private student loan and Federal student loan

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

Table of contents 

Private student loan requirements

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

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

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

To qualify, we have five common student loan requirements that must be qualified to get our loan approved:

1) Must have considerable age, education, and citizenship

We have a set of common student loan 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 you 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 are intended to be covered by the private student loan, so we need to use them accordingly for educational expenses.  

For the verification, the common student loan lenders may communicate with the student college financial aid, where the school must certify the amount that is to be borrowed, confirm the cost of attendance, and allow the lender to verify the help they have received. 

After the certification from school or college, the fund you applied for is likely to release the amount of leftover after all the incurred expenses. The amount is to be returned to you back, which can be used for books and other costs. 

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

3) Credit and income criteria

Private student loans mostly emphasize credit scores; 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 to see how reliable you are with your common student loan debts. You must be thinking about how good your credit score needs to be? Well, that depends on your lenders. 

It is 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 also get a loan for a meager interest rate.

4) Be able to apply with a creditworthy cosigner

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

The cosigner is the one who shares 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. Specific common student loan lenders do have the option of releasing the cosigner just after months of one-time repayment. So if you make a steady process of 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 to qualify. It’s required to enroll at least not more than half the time at your school. Most graduate schools have four years of qualification. Two-year community college and trade schools are not eligible for private student loans. 

Most of the private student loans are specified for community colleges or vocational students. They even have offers for the students attending two-year programs 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. You can even talk to your financial aid office.

Federal student loan requirements

As mentioned before, federal student loans are one of the best loan options, offering the best protection for borrowers 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 to defer payments in case 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.Why would one get denied for a student loan? 

    Federal loans are normally provided to students with citizenship in the US. Private lenders who offer student loans, prioritize your credit score therefore will perform a credit history check. Other reasons are- not having yourself enrolled in an authorized university, history of a defaulted loan , not completing high school education, in some cases not having a cosigner, and not choosing a career that helps you have the income required to make your repayments.   

  • 2.What happens if you don't use all your student loans?

    If you have federal loans, you can contact your school’s financial aid office within 14 days when your student loans are disbursed and get your loan canceled if you do not need the extra money. In the case of private loans, you can refund the money in a form of repayment and be debt-free gradually. 

  • 3.Do all loans require a credit check?

    A credit check is not performed for federal student loans. While most private lenders check credit history, if you have a cosigner with a good credit score, you are eligible to receive private student loans.   

  • 4.What happens if you don't make payments towards your student loans? 

    If you do not make payments for 90 days or more, your student loans move to delinquent and if further continued to 270 days and beyond your loans move to default. There are severe bad consequences to be faced when loans are in default. Once your loans are in default, your credit score drops, and borrowing a loan in the future can be next to impossible. 

  • 5. Can student loans be canceled?

    Under certain conditions, a Student Loan will be canceled and all previous payments will be refunded. However, this happens very rarely.  It happens in the case of  1-Death of a borrower. 2-Total and permanent disability is based on a condition not existing at the time you applied for your loan.   

  • 6.How to improve your credit rating when you are in default? 

    Your loan can be brought out of default through the repayment process, loan rehabilitation, or consolidation. If you participate in the Department of Education's Loan Rehabilitation Program, after 12 consecutive monthly payments the negative implications will be deleted.