How to Get Emergency Student Loans at the Last Minute

Note that the government has suspended all repayments on federally held student loans until the end of 2022, with no interest to be charged during that time and no loans in arrears or defaults.

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Emergency student loans are available for those experiencing unexpected financial hardship, whether due to job loss, death in the family, or any life circumstance that results in immediate financial need. .

Often called instant or quick student loans, your school may offer this type of help. Emergency loans are usually disbursed and repaid on quick schedules, sometimes with reasonable interest rates and fees.

Here are some things to know before applying for an emergency student loan:

What are emergency student loans and who offers them?

As stated above, emergency student loans are for when you face unforeseen circumstances and need extra funds. If you find yourself in this situation, you should first contact your school’s financial aid office.

A financial aid administrator can help you quickly identify your best emergency aid options. Although these funds generally cannot be used for tuition, they can cover various expenses, such as food, medicine, travel, or supplies.

Instant student loans can come from the following sources:

  • Your college or university
  • Non-profit organizations or educational foundations
  • Federal assistance programs
  • Private loan options

You can also research options ahead of time. The more you know, the sooner you and your financial aid worker can put a solution in place to get the emergency help you need.

How to get emergency student loans and other funds fast

Knowing the different types of aid available can help you access emergency funds when you need them. Here are three ways to get financial help fast:

1. Claim Federal Student Loans
2. Check out emergency student loan programs
3. Consider private student loans

1. Claim Federal Student Loans

Refer to your financial aid award letter to review your federal loans, grants, and work-study eligibility. Alternatively, you can log into your college’s student account and go to your financial account section to see if you have any unused student aid or loans. A financial aid administrator can also help you access this information.

In most cases, you will be able to borrow student loans up to the federal student loan limits or your tuition (after applying other aid), whichever is lower.

Here are the federal loan limits:

  • Undergraduate direct loan: $7,500 per year for dependent students or $12,500 for independent students.
  • Direct loan to graduates: $20,500 per year (non-subsidized only) for independent students.
  • MORE ready: Up to cost of attendance after other support has been applied (available to parents and graduate students).

Since you already received approval for these loans when you completed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can quickly claim any unused funds. You can also ask your parents to apply for a Parent PLUS loan to cover the costs.

2. Check out emergency student loan programs

Many colleges have their own emergency loan program. Here are the main factors to consider, along with examples of options offered at various schools:

  • Borrowing limit: Quick student loans can limit the amount you can borrow. For example, Georgia Tech offers institutional emergency loans of up to $1,500.
  • Repayment period: These loans provide quick cash to students in need, which usually requires quick repayment. California Polytechnic State University emergency student loans, for example, require full repayment within 90 days.
  • Interest rate: Some emergency student loans are interest-free, while others are not. For example, Duke University charges 3.5% interest for emergency student loans. In contrast, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an interest-free short-term loan for students who need temporary funds.
  • Service charge : You may need to pay a small processing or service fee. For example, the University of Nevada charges a $20 service fee for each emergency loan.

You will often need to fill out an application for institutional emergency assistance. The financial aid office will then assess your eligibility.

3. Consider private student loans

Private lenders are another source of last minute student loans. Most private lenders will allow you to borrow student loans up to your tuition.

It is important to weigh the pros and cons of private student loans. Private student loans generally lack the extensive protections that come with federal loans. Additionally, private student loans may have higher rates and fees, depending on the lender and your credit score.

Here’s how to get emergency student loans from a private lender:

  • Have good credit or get a co-signer. Private lenders do a credit check, so you’ll need a strong credit history or find a co-signer who does. You can also consider student loans for bad credit.
  • Find reputable private lenders. Good private student loans usually offer low interest rates, flexible repayment terms and additional discounts. Check out our picks for the best private student loans and use our student loan repayment calculator to compare loan options.
  • Check the funding time. Contact lenders and ask how long they usually take to repay their loans. Although same day student loans are not common, you can consider a personal loan with same day financing or even a line of credit.
  • Apply for a loan. Providers will ask you for certain loan documents, such as proof of identity or income, including for your co-signer if you have one.
  • Follow up with the lender and financial aid office. Once your application has been processed, your financial aid office will need to certify your enrollment status and the cost of your attendance. Check with your lender and help desk to get things done.
  • Sign a promissory note and disburse funds. After signing the student loan agreement or principal promissory note agreeing to the terms of the loan, you should receive your funds in your student loan account or bank account.

Are emergency student loans a good idea?

Although emergency student loans or hardship loans can be helpful, they are not for everyone.

Consider the following factors before applying:

  • Are you eligible? Not all schools offer emergency aid, and if they do, there may be eligibility requirements. Also, the loan amount may not offer enough money to help you.
  • Will you be able to repay the loan? An emergency loan is still a loan, so ask yourself if you can handle more debt. Failure to pay a loan can jeopardize your education and your eligibility for future financial aid. In other words, try to make a plan before borrowing money.
  • Can you afford the costs involved? Some emergency student loans do not charge interest, unlike personal and student loans. However, you might incur a service or loan origination fee, so check before proceeding to see if this is something you can afford.

Where can you look for other forms of student emergency help and assistance?

Emergency student loans are just one form of help. You can use other programs and options to find additional funds and give yourself more time to resolve your situation.

Here are three categories to consider:

1. Professional Judgment Review of Federal Aids
2. Emergency aid, grants and scholarships
3. Invoice extensions or payment plans

1. Professional Judgment Review of Federal Aids

The financial aid administrator can reevaluate or even negotiate student aid programs on a case-by-case basis through a process called professional judgment review.

If the administrator makes professional judgment, they may revise your FAFSA, including recalculating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Ultimately, this could increase your eligibility for financial aid.

For example, a student who recently lost a parent can edit their FAFSA to exclude that parent’s income.

2. Emergency aid, grants and scholarships

Many colleges offer extra help for struggling students. This could include:

  • Campus checks to help cover on-campus expenses such as books and meals in the dining hall.
  • End-of-study scholarships or grants, who can forgive some or all of the outstanding balance that might otherwise prevent a student from advancing or graduating.
  • Hardship Grants for students, which may require proof of hardship or urgency.
  • Pantry to make sure the students are not hungry.

Check with your financial aid and student support offices, which oversee and administer most of these grants and emergency aid programs.

You may also consider funds from alumni-funded foundations or other nonprofit scholarships or grants that can provide emergency relief. For instance, the UNCF offers “just in time” emergency loans of up to $500 for black students.

3. Invoice extensions or payment plans

Your financial aid administrator usually has the authority to change your tuition payment plan, which can give you additional wiggle room in your budget.

Also, look for other forms of non-educational financial aid. You may be eligible for food stamps or housing assistance, which can help you make ends meet during your hardship. Another option is to ask friends and family for help – you can fundraise through the Gift of College platform.

For students facing a crisis, there is help to get you back on your feet. And once your financial situation has stabilized, consider putting extra funds into a savings account for future emergencies.


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