How to Apply for Student Loans

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Paying for college can be tricky. Many students use a combination of grants, scholarships and student loans to fund their college expenses. The more grants and scholarships you get the less you will need to pay back. A Pell Grant is available to help students pay for college. This is a federal grant and available to students across the country. The grant is given based on income requirements, and can be renewed as long as you are continuing to progress towards receiving a degree. A federal student loan can be obtained by filling out the same paperwork, so even if you don't qualify for a Pell Grant, you should fill out the FAFSA.

You are not required to borrow money when you apply for a grant. You need to work on maintaining eligibility for both of these funding options. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 1-2 hours

Here's How:

  1. Gather together the materials you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will include your parent’s tax information, your tax information, and any savings accounts balances. You are required to report your parent’s income until you are twenty-four years old or married.
  2. Check to be sure that the school of your choice qualifies for the Pell Grant. You can find this information by searching for the school code. Most technical and traditional schools qualify. However if your school has had problems with accreditation, you may not qualify for funding.
  1. Apply for a PIN. This will serve as your online signature. It can take up to three days for the PIN to be verified, but you can receive a temporary PIN to complete the application.
  2. has an online application form available. You can also print out a form to mail it in or visit your financial aid office to receive a form or to get assistance filling out the form. The easiest way to fill out the form is online. It is important to fill out each line correctly, so that you can receive financial aid quickly.
  1. Verify the information that you have filled out and submit the form. The financial aid office through your college will contact you letting you know if you qualify for a Pell Grant, and the amount that you qualify for in student loans. You are not required to take out the entire amount offered you in student loans. You can refuse any or all of the student loans offered to you.
  2. The student loan money will be sent to the college. The college will distribute any remaining funds to you after it takes out the tuition and fees that you owe. It is important to understand this process so you know how to budget for college. 


    1. The Pell Grant amount for the 2014-2015 school year is $5730.00. This may not cover all of your education expenses. You can apply for student loans with the same form. This can help you finance your education.
    2. Look for additional funding everywhere you can. Ask your major department for suggestions on grants and scholarships. You can also use online databases to search for funding. Apply each semester for new grants and scholarships as well. If you work, you may qualify for a tuition reimbursement program though your employer.
    1. You should carefully listen to the loan counseling that you must do at the beginning of each year. You need to understand how much money you will need to pay back when you graduate. You may want to choose a different school and work to lower the cost of your tuition, to prevent you from accruing too much debt.

    What You Need:

    • Savings Account Information
    • Tax Returns for Self and Parents