It’s pretty much a given; if you’re going to college, you’ll need some assistance in paying for it. There are plenty of grants, loans, and scholarships you can apply for when preparing for your higher education, which means there will also be plenty of paperwork to fill out. To fill out the paperwork for each loan, you might be wondering if you need a cosigner. Some lenders, especially those giving private student loans, will look at your credit score to determine how much you get. PLUS loans require your parent or guardian to cosign. If you’re trying to find a student loan that does not require a cosigner, there are two major ones: the Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan.
To receive either of these loans, you first need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This document helps determine your eligibility for financial aid, including loans, government grants, and work-study programs. Applications are accepted starting on January 1 each year for the upcoming academic year, and funds are given on a first come-first serve policy. Every state has a different priority deadline, but note that if you have missed that deadline, you still have time to register for the upcoming year. For example, the priority deadline to fill out a FAFSA form in North Carolina was March 1, but you actually have until June 30 to complete the application. It’s best to complete it as soon as possible in order to receive the maximum possible amount of funds.
One of the loans not requiring a cosigner is the Stafford Loan. Stafford Loans are available to students from the US Department of Education through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, and they are offered at a lower interest rate than private loans because they are backed by the government. (The current fixed rate is 6.8%, but with a subsidized loan, it stands at 3.4% for the 2011-12 academic year.) You don’t start repaying the loan until six months after you leave school, whether by graduation, withdrawing, or dropping below “half-time enrollment.” (For the majority of universities, being a half-time student means you are taking at least six credit hours and less than twelve credit hours of class a week.) If you show enough financial need, your loan may be subsidized, meaning you will not be charged interest while you are in school.
The other type of loan not requiring a cosigner is the Federal Perkins Loan. The Perkins Loan has a nine-month grace period after you leave school, and it has a 5% interest rate during the repayment period, which will be up to 120 months. All Perkins Loans are subsidized, so no interest accrues until after you leave school.
The maximum amounts you can receive from the loans also vary. With a Perkins loan, it’s $5,500 per year, and a total of $27,500 during your entire undergraduate studies. For graduate students, the maximum per year is $8,000, and a total of $60,000 during all of your years. The Stafford Loan is more variable since not all of these distributed loans are subsidized, and it also depends on whether you are dependent or independent. Here is a link to information about Stafford Loans that clearly illustrates how much you can receive. By filling out a FAFSA form and applying for the Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan, you need not worry about having a cosigner.
He played clarinet for the Marching Tar Heels in 2005 and 2006. He also volunteered for STV, the student-run television station at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the spring of 2010. He shot video, wrote scripts, and acted for “Off the Cuff,” UNC’s longest running sketch comedy show. He has the rare distinction of having lived in a dorm all four years of his undergraduate college career. He was also on Franklin Street on the night of April 4, 2009. His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and to one day work for the media as a sports journalist or broadcaster.
Being one of eight children, David realizes finance is an important topic to everyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject. His interests are in personal finance, budgeting, and savings.
In his spare time, David enjoys watching sports and standup comedy, as well as doing crossword puzzles and writing in the first person. He also thoroughly enjoys trivia and, one day, hopes to participate on the game show Jeopardy!, where he will try to break Ken Jennings’ 74-game win streak.