who can apply for student loans

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If you’re a student and you need to borrow money, you’re in good company. Millions of students have taken out student loans in the past few decades, and for good reason: it’s a great way to pay for college!

But what if you don’t want to get yourself into trouble with debt? What if you want to be responsible with your money, but also want to make sure that you can afford to go to school? That’s why we’re here. We’ve got some tips so that you can apply for student loans without having any regrets later on down the line.

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How to Apply for a Student Loan

Who Qualifies for a Student Loan?

Almost everyone qualifies for student loans, though students with the greatest financial need can generally borrow under the best terms. The first step in applying for a student loan is figuring out whether you will be considered an independent student or one who is dependent on your parents. There is some gray area when it comes to dependency status, but generally speaking, you’re an independent student if:

  • You are over the age of 24.
  • You are married at the time of applying.
  • You are on active duty or are a veteran of the armed forces.
  • You have children who receive at least half of their support from you.

[source: U.S. Department of Education]

Under certain circumstances, independent status may be granted to students who do not meet the requirements listed above. If you have questions about this, talk to the financial aid administrator at your school. He or she can make the final determination about your status.

Once you’ve figured out your dependency status, it’s time start gathering financial information for yourself (independent students) and your parents (dependent students). This includes tax returns, bank statements and information about other financial assets [source: U.S. Department of Education]. You’ll also need social security/immigration cards for everyone on the application.

To qualify for financial aid, you also need to be working toward a degree in an eligible program. In other words, you may be applying to an accredited school, but the underwater basket weaving classes you plan to take could disqualify you for the loan if they do not count toward a certificate or degree. Be sure to talk to a counselor about whether your courses are acceptable under your loan program.

Once you’ve answered some questions about your dependency status and eligibility, it’s time to start comparing student loan programs. There are several different types of student loans, each with its own terms and conditions. You may qualify for more than one type, so it’s important to understand how each works in order to make the best decision about financing your education. In the next section, we compare different types of student loans as well as the qualifications for each.

who are my student loans through

Who’s My Student Loan Servicer?

Learn about the role that student loan servicers play in the repayment process and which servicer handles your federal student loans.

What Loan Servicers Do

loan servicer is a company that we assign to handle the billing and other services on your federal student loan on our behalf, at no cost to you. Your loan servicer will work with you on repayment options (such as income-driven repayment plans and loan consolidation) and will assist you with other tasks related to your federal student loans.

Keep your contact information up to date so your loan servicer can help you stay on track with repaying your loans. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.

Never pay an outside company for help with your federal student loans. Your loan servicer will help you for FREE. Contact your servicer to apply for income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness, and more.

Loan Servicer Assignment

We will assign your loan to a loan servicer after your loan amount is first disbursed (paid out). Your loan servicer will contact you after that.

Identifying Your Servicer

The following are loan servicers for loans that the U.S Department of Education (ED) owns. To find out who your loan servicer is,

  • visit your account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section, or
  • call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.
Loan ServicerContact
FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)1-800-699-2908
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.1-800-236-4300
OSLA Servicing1-866-264-9762
Default Resolution Group1-800-621-3115 (TTY: 1-877-825-9923 for the deaf or hard of hearing)

Whom to Contact for Loan Information

If your loan is for the current or upcoming school year, contact your school’s financial aid office directly for information about

Only your school’s financial aid office can provide this information.

If your loan was disbursed in a past school year and you’re still in school, keep your contact information up to date with your school and contact your loan servicer when you

  • withdraw,
  • graduate,
  • drop below half-time enrollment, or
  • stop going to school.

If you’re no longer in school, contact your loan servicer when you

  • change your name, address, or phone number;
  • need help making your loan payment;
  • have a question about your bill; or
  • have other questions about your student loan.
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Contact Information for Loans Not Owned by ED

If you have Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans that are not owned by ED, contact your servicer for details about repayment options and tools. Not sure who your servicer is? Visit your account dashboard and scroll down to the “My Loan Servicers” section.

If you have Federal Perkins Loans that are not owned by ED, contact the school where you received your Federal Perkins Loan for details about repaying your loan. Your school may be the servicer for your loan.

If you have HEAL Program loans and you’re not in default, contact your loan servicer for help with account-related questions. Use the contact information your loan servicer provided to you. Not sure who your servicer is? Look for the most recent communication from the entity sending you bills for your loan payments.

If you have HEAL Program loans and you’re in default, contact the Debt Collection Center for help with account-related questions:

For mail sent via U.S. Postal Service:

Accounting Services, Debt Collection Center
Mailstop 10230B
7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 8-8110D
Bethesda, MD 20857

For mail sent via UPS or FedEx:

HHS Program Support Center
Accounting Services, Debt Collection Center
Mailstop Seventh Floor
7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 8-8110D
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-492-4664

Understanding Loan Transfers

In some cases, we need to transfer loans from one servicer to another servicer. If we transfer your federal student loans from one servicer to another servicer, your loans will still be owned by ED. The “transfer” to another servicer simply means that a new servicer will provide the support you need to fully repay your loans.

Here’s what you should expect if your loan is transferred to a new servicer:

  • You will receive an email or a letter from your assigned servicer to inform you about the transfer.
  • You will receive a welcome letter from the new servicer after the new servicer receives your loans. This notice will provide you with the contact information for the new servicer and inform you of actions that you may need to take.
  • All of your loan information will be transferred from your assigned servicer to your new servicer, but you may only be able to see online information that covers the period since your new servicer took your loans over.
  • There will be no change in the terms of your loans.
  • Your previous loan servicer and new loan servicer will work together to make sure that all payments you make during the transfer process are credited to your loan account with the new servicer.

After you receive the welcome letter from your new servicer, you should do the following:

  • Begin sending your loan payments to your new servicer. If you use a bank or bill paying service to make your loan payments, update the new servicer’s contact information with the bank or bill paying service.
  • Follow the new servicer’s instructions for creating an online account so that you can more easily communicate with the new servicer and keep track of your loan account.

Avoid Paying for Federal Student Loan Assistance

You don’t have to pay to receive help with loan services such as consolidating your federal student loans or applying for an income-driven repayment plan.

If you are contacted by a company asking you to pay “enrollment,” “subscription,” or “maintenance” fees to enroll you in a federal repayment plan or forgiveness program, you should walk away.

These services and more can be completed by your servicer for free!

Who can apply for student loans?

If you’re looking to take out a student loan, it’s important to understand who is eligible. You may be surprised to learn that if you are an international student, have a disability, or are a dependent of your parents, you may not be eligible for these loans.

In order to determine whether or not you’re eligible for student loans, it’s best to contact the company that is offering them. They will be able to tell you more about the qualifications required for each loan type.

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