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How long does it take to get a student loan?

NomenclatureNomenclature Posts: 17Registered User New Member
I mainly am asking how long does it normally take to get approved for a student loan. The university that I am transferring to in January isn't really "helping me out", and aside from the crumbs that they'll feed me + FAFSA + SMART grant, I'll still need about $10,000+

I am applying for the SMART Scholarship, but that won't even come into effect until next year (plus I might not even get it).

Now, my mother is not wealthy at all, but she has good credit. I, myself, have had good credit for a solid two years now. I am 20 years old. I am waiting to see what else the university can do for me and am also looking into other options, but in the even that I do have to get a student loan,

1. How late can I apply for one? Can I like apply for it 2 weeks before my January semester starts?
2. What is the average amount of a student loan? I will probably need $10,000+ per year (If I have to get a loan). Is this a "normal" amount.

THANK YOU
Post edited by Nomenclature on

Replies to: How long does it take to get a student loan?

  • LasMaLasMa Posts: 7,254Registered User Senior Member
    Parent here. Check out the Discover student loan; it will be in your name, but with your mom as co-signer, it will be based on her credit score. Their rates are very favorable for the credit-worthy like her. I've also heard that the Chase student loan is a good one.

    It took 2-3 weeks to process, but I wouldn't recommend waiting until 2 weeks before school starts to get the ball rolling. Call your school now to find out their process and deadlines, and then call the lender to find out about processing time. Add a week or two just as a safety margin.

    I don't know what "normal" is, but it so happens that we took a $10,000 loan this year.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,478Super Moderator Senior Member
    If you have a SMART grant, then you also have Pell. I would assume that you also have a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan. These would total $7500 because you have to be at least a junior to get the SMART grant. So, are you asking about borrowing $10,000 in addition to your $7500? Have you considered having your mom apply for the parent PLUS to see if she'll get turned down (it's based on her credit)? If she's turned down, you'd be able to borrow another $5000 unsub loan - the terms are better than you'll find on a private loan.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    If you need $10K more per year, you'll only need $5K in Januaray, right? Have you already maxed out all your federal loans? If so, I think $17500/year is alot for a student to borrow, certainly it's much higher than the average undergrad who borrows around $23K over four years. Hopefully you're fully aware of the monthly payment that will require and are in a major with good job prospects. I would make sure to do everything possible to cut costs and borrow the absolute minimum necessary.
  • NomenclatureNomenclature Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    Well FAFSA came back to me with an EFC of 0, and an expected award amount of $5300. Starting my very first semester in January at the new university, I will officially be a junior with over 60 credits. I will be in the Computer and Mathematical Sciences program. That + high GPA, I would imagine that the school will also give me the SMART grant. I just found out that I'm getting a $3,000 transfer merit scholarship from the school itself, and they ARE going to charge me in-state (I am transferring from out of state).

    So, full tuition+ room/board is just about $20,000. - $5000 pell grant, - $3000 transfer scholarship, and - $4,000 if I get the SMART grant. That would leave $8,000 left over that I would have to pay. At this point in time, I haven't called/checked with a single loan giver. I was kind of "waiting until the last minute" to see if I could get some more money from the school, which now seems like a possibility.

    I guess I can start looking around for the best (lowest) interest rates and wait until the last minute to get a loan if I end up needing one, because I don't want to take out a loan on $8,000+ and then find out that I don't need it.
  • NomenclatureNomenclature Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    Also, I'm not saying that my mom doesn't care about me going to school, but let's just say that she isn't involved. That being said, I would greatly appreciate it if you could link me to some website/give some more info on what subsidized/unsubsidized is and the diference between a federal/private loan. I don't really have anyone else to turn to and I don't want to just google it and get unrealistic help. Please help me out :)
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,942Registered User Senior Member
    Federal loans are offered to you as part of a financial aid award offer from the school. So your FA letter that offers you the Pell (max is $5350 for the school year, $2675 for a semester), & hopefully the Smart will include any federal loans you are eligible for. The main federal loan is the Stafford loan. As a junior you are eligible for a maximum of $7500 for a school year of which up to $5500 may be subsidized.

    Subsidized Stafford loan - is need based. The govt pays the interest up until you graduate or drop below half time plus for a 6 month grace period. The interest rate for the 2009-2010 school year is 5.6%.

    Unsubsidized Stafford loan. Not need based. You are responsible for the interest from the day the loan is disbursed. The interest rate is 6.8%.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,478Super Moderator Senior Member
    You will actually have to be classified as a junior to get the SMART grant (you can't even be one credit shy). The cumulative GPA from the credits you are transferring in will be used to determine your eligibility - it must be at least 3.0.
  • NomenclatureNomenclature Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    I will be leaving my current college with 62 credits, and my GPA right now is 3.6 and it will be even higher when I transfer.

    swimcatsmom- thank you for the info. So, when do you think my offer of award will come out? I mean as of right now the university just has that transfer scholarship on it (I can view it online) but I contacted financial aid and they said that they haven't yet began allocating the pell or any other aids for January yet.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,942Registered User Senior Member
    No idea. That would depend entirely on the school. The 2 schools we have experience with vary enormously in the speed with which they issue financial aid award offers each year and the speed with which they pay refund checks.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,478Super Moderator Senior Member
    We have not yet begun processing winter aid. It's a bit difficult to do that at this point in time, to be honest ... students are only allowed a certain amount of loans during the year, so schools must monitor loans for last summer (if allocated to 09-10) and this fall before awarding for the winter term. Pell must also be monitored for prior disbursements for the current year. In addition, if the school chooses the students it will verify (rather than just verifying those the feds select), they may not be ready for winter only students yet.

    As long as your FAFSA is in, you will just have to wait until the school is ready to package your aid. Make sure you watch for any communications from them (we use school email exclusively for contacting our students).
  • NomenclatureNomenclature Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    Okay I will. And a question regarding FAFSA: When I signed up for the 09-10 aid year, I just put all of my residency/school info for Michigan/Michigan university. I paid cash for this current semester at my Florida school. I did this because I was told that you can only apply for FAFSA for one school per year, is this true? I mean could I have used some of the FAFSA at my current college and then used the rest when I transfer to the new university? I am sure that the answer is "no" but would like clarification. Thank you all again.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,942Registered User Senior Member
    No it is not true. You cannot receive aid at 2 schools at the same time. But you could have applied for aid at your current school for the current semester and then applied for aid at your transfer school for next semester. Many students who transfer mid year do this.

    Aid is generally awarded on a semester basis so if you were eligible for the Pell you could have got $2750 this semester at your current school and then been awarded your remaining eligibility of $2750 next semester at your transfer school.

    I would ask your current school if it is too late to apply for aid for this semester.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,478Super Moderator Senior Member
    Please put your current school's school code on the FAFSA & then find out what you are eligible to receive. If you are eligible for Pell, you will be able to receive the semester Pell based on the number of credits you are enrolled in at the time you complete the application.

    Be careful with your loans, though, because you are only eligible for $7500 annually (or $12,500 if you are independent). If you use some now, you will be eligible for that much less in the winter. If you do NOT use any now, you will actually be eligible to receive the entire amount in the winter (as long as you have enough room in your budget for the whole amount).
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