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Home Private Student Loans Student Loans Emergency Student Loans

Emergency Student Loans

Emergency student loans exist to help students avoid interruptions to their education. Though the circumstances leading to the necessity for emergency student loans vary by individual, it’s a frequent enough need for students that according to a study by NASPA, a national student affairs organization, 70% of two and four year schools have emergency aid programs in place. These programs are intended for urgent and short-term help to prevent students from leaving school due to unforeseen financial hardship.

Fast Student Loan

When you’re in need of an emergency student loan, you need money fast. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have enough money to pay your college related expenses, the first thing you should do is contact your school’s financial aid office. It’s not uncommon for schools to have funds designated for students’ financial emergencies, and if you qualify these funds can be disbursed quickly.

Your school’s financial aid office staff is well-versed in handling these situations and can provide you with a list of potential emergency aid options.

Sources for emergency student aid may include:

  • Your college or university
  • Non-profit and educational organizations
  • The state in which you attend college
  • Federal aid program
  • Private student loans
  • Interest Rates
    • Fixed as low as: 4.25% APR1
    • Variable as low as: 1.25% APR1
  • Interest Rates
    • Fixed as low as: 3.54% APR1
    • Variable as low as: 1.24% APR1
  • Interest Rates
    • Fixed: 4.24% APR - 12.99% APR3
    • Variable: 1.24% APR - 12.49% APR3

Not all financial emergencies will require an emergency student loan. Based on your circumstances, your school may also offer assistance in other ways. According to NASPA, many colleges offer aid through textbook vouchers, food pantries, emergency scholarships as well as restricted and unrestricted grants. Your financial aid office will have a list of options available at your school.

Once you have reviewed your options and determined which programs you may qualify for, it’s time to apply. You may qualify for more than one assistance program based on your circumstances, so be sure to review all of your options with the financial aid office.

However, not all schools have an internal program to help students with financial hardships and emergencies. If this is your situation, you still have options.

How Do I Get an Emergency Student Loan?

First, start with federal aid options to ensure you aren’t eligible for more aid from the federal government. Again, you will want to visit your financial aid office to explore this possibility. You may qualify for more federal funding such as additional Direct Stafford student loans.

If you do not qualify for more loans from the Direct Stafford Student Loan Program, you may also look into the Direct PLUS Loan Program.

In contrast to the Direct Stafford Loan Program, the Direct PLUS Loan Program will allow you to borrow funds up to your school’s determined cost of attendance (COA), minus other financial aid received. Graduate students are eligible to apply for PLUS loans on their own, however, if you are an undergraduate student your parent must apply. PLUS loans do require a credit check (though not as stringent as a private student loan credit check).

If you do receive additional federal loans, this money will be subject to the repayment terms of the federal student loan program, just like any other federal student loans you may have.

What Can I Expect From an Emergency Student Loan?

Because emergency student loans are intended for emergencies, you may find that the terms are a bit different from what you are used to (unless you are able to borrow additional Direct Loans, which will follow the federal Direct Student Loan Program repayment terms for the type of loan you borrowed). Most emergency student loans are intended for short-term assistance and may need to be paid back within a short period of time, such as 90 days to six months. Emergency student loan amounts are also typically far lower than traditional student loan amounts (commonly $500 to $1,000), and the loans themselves may be low or no interest.

Emergency Parent PLUS Loans or Grad PLUS Loans

Direct PLUS Loans are a good option for students to consider if the amount they need is larger than an emergency student loan would typically offer, or if they have exhausted Direct Stafford Loan options. Like Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans are offered by the federal government. Borrowers—which can be a parent for a Parent PLUS Loan, or a graduate student for Grad PLUS Loan—can borrow up to the school’s certified cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid received.

Read Federal Parent PLUS Loan Introduction to learn more about Parent PLUS Loans and Grad PLUS Loans for Graduate Students to learn more about Grad PLUS Loans.

Private Emergency Student Loans

If you have explored all of your other options and you are still coming up short on cash, you may consider looking into private student loans. Private student loans typically have a minimum amount you must borrow that is higher than most students need in an emergency. Here’s what to consider if you’re looking at a private student loan to help in an emergency.

  1. Did you exhaust your federal, state, and institutional emergency student loan options?
  2. What is the most competitive interest rate available?
  3. Do you have a creditworthy cosigner  to help you qualify?

Private student loans must be certified by your financial aid office. If approved, loan funds are disbursed to your school.

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