How to Apply for Student Loans
Whether it’s completing the FAFSA to get federal student loans or submitting an application to a bank for a private student loan, applying for student loans can seem like a complicated process. There are a lot of steps and a lot of information needed from students and their families, so we’ve created this guide to help you prepare for and navigate through any student loan application process.
Applying for Federal Student Loans
Receiving federal student loans like the Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized loans is done in three steps. The first in the process is completing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can perform the entire process online at the FAFSA website. Some of the loans available are awarded based on your family’s financial need, so you’ll want to gather the following pieces of personal and financial information:
- Name, date of birth and address
- Social security and driver's license numbers
- Federal tax returns, including W-2 tax forms and other recent records on the income earned for student and parents (if student is a dependent)
- Federal student aid PIN number, which will allow you to access the application and sign the form. You can get your pin number at www.pin.ed.gov.
- Name of school (up to 10 can be listed on the application)
Once you’ve completed the FAFSA you’re ready for step two in the process, the research phase. After a few weeks you will receive your Student Aid Report, which outlines your expected family contribution, and the form will also be automatically forwarded to the schools listed on your application. The financial aid offices of those institutions to which you've been accepted will send you a formal financial aid award letter outlining the financial aid package they will offer. Your job will then be to compare those offers, and choose the school that best fits your future goals and family budget. If you only listed one school on your application, then step two will be an easy one.
Step three is to accept that school's financial aid package, if you choose to receive aid. The award letter you receive from the school will have an itemized list of all of the different types of aid available to you, including grants and federal student loans. Remember, even after you've accepted your award letter you should check with your school's financial aid office to see what other forms or documents you will need to complete in order to secure your funding (for example, completing your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note or MPN).
Applying for a private student loan
After you’ve accepted your financial aid award, there still may be a gap in financing that you and your family are responsible for filling. A private student loan will help cover additional expenses. While every lender has its own application process for a private student loan – like the Citizens Bank Student Loan™ – all of them require similar information from their applicants. Here is a list of information you will likely need to provide when applying for a private student loan:
- Name of school the student plans to attend
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security Number (or Alien ID number for Permanent Residents)
- Gross monthly income and one most recent paystub
- Employer name, phone number and length of employment (if applicable)
- Monthly rent or mortgage payment (if applicable)
- Anticipated graduation date (MM/YYYY)
- Loan amount requested
- Loan period for which funds are needed – Can be an entire academic year, or a single semester
- Co-signer name and valid email address (if applicable)
- Student borrower reference (name, address and phone number of someone who is not your co-signer)
You can find out more information on the Citizens Bank Student Loan online, and if you still have questions, call a student lending specialist at 1-888-411-0266, and we'll help walk you through the process.