It is not uncommon for students to need help financing their online education. For many, student loans are the way to go. The process of applying for student loans can be a difficult one, though, with many papers to complete and deadlines to meet. It is important that you stay organized and on top of the process so that you can get all the available money to pay for your education. Most student loans come from either government agencies or private financial institutions. You should check out these loans carefully as the interest rates can vary significantly, with government loans usually falling into the lower percentage range. Sometimes, your educational institution limits the types of loans for which you can apply, so be sure to compare the tuition alongside the interest rate of the loan when looking at your options.
The first thing you should do is complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA) form either online or on paper. Please note that FAFSA eligibility requires that your online courses be a part of a recognized certification or degree program. The FAFSA application can be completed as soon as January 1 of each year and must be filed by March 1 for you to be eligible for many of the sources of aid. In order to complete the FAFSA application, you will need the estimate of your taxes, not necessarily your completed taxes. You can free get online help to complete your application from the FAFSA .gov site link above and possibly from your school. Be aware that many of the other online sites will charge you for their assistance with the FAFSA application, but this paid service is not necessary. When your application has been processed, you will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report, as will any educational institutions you included on your application.
After you complete the FAFSA process, you can find out what loans you are eligible to receive. Examples of loans include the Federal Stafford subsidized or unsubsidized loan, the Perkins loan program, Federal PLUS loans made to parents of students, and various state loans. The terms of repayment on these loans vary by type of loan and your specific financial needs. It is important that you realize loans must be repaid. Defaulting on your loans will damage your credit and may result in the government intercepting any tax refunds and garnishing your wages. Be sure you are aware of the financial commitment you are making when taking on student loans. The U.S. Department of Education offers several tools and resources to help ensure you can successfully repay your loans.