If you’re enrolling in a higher education program, you might be in the process of figuring out how to pay for it and wondering if student loans are the right option for you. And you may be asking yourself: who can get a student loan? The short answer is that it depends on the program you’re attending. So, we’re going more in-depth about who can get a student loan and how to find out if you qualify.
Programs with Title IV funding
Some schools receive Title IV funding from the US Department of Education (ED), which provides grant, work-study, and loan funds. With these loans, the ED is the lender, and interest rates range from 3.73%–6.28%* depending on the type of loan. If your school offers federal student loans, all you need to qualify is to fulfill some basic requirements:
- Demonstrate financial need (for most programs)
- Be a US citizen or an eligible noncitizen
- Have a valid Social Security number
- There is an exception of those from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
- Be registered with Selective Service (if you’re a male)
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
- You must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan Program funds.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress
- Complete a FAFSA® form stating that you:
- Are not in default on a federal student loan
- Do not owe money on a federal student grant
- Will use federal student aid only for educational purposes
- Show you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education through one of the following:
- Having a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (such as a GED)
- Completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law
- Or, if state law doesn’t require a homeschooled student to obtain a completion credential, you can complete a high school education in a homeschool setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law.
- Enrolling in an eligible career pathway program and either passing an approved “ability-to-benefit” test, or completing six credit hours or equivalent course work toward a degree or certificate
Programs without Title IV funding
Not every program receives Title IV funding, including many vocational and career training schools. This means their students are unable to apply for federal student loans. In these cases, private student loans may be an option. These are provided by banks or other lending institutions (as opposed to the government) and vary from lender to lender. So, you’ll definitely want to make sure to research all your options carefully before you make a decision! Look at the term lengths, interest rates, and APRs of different lenders to compare what your monthly payments will be, as well as what you’ll end up paying overall.
Unlike federal student loans, private lenders all have unique qualification criteria. Each will have its own application process and requirements for eligibility, such as credit score, payment history, debt-to-income ratio, and whether they’re a US citizen or permanent resident. Many lenders (including Climb) will also allow you to apply with a co-borrower — someone who meets the criteria to qualify if the borrower does not and who agrees to take responsibility for the loan should the borrower become unable to make payments.
Additionally, while Direct PLUS Loans are the only federal loans which require a credit check, many private lenders include a credit check in their application process. However, Climb only performs a soft credit pull upon application. A hard pull is not performed until a loan is funded, so you can apply just to check your rate — or reapply multiple times with co-borrowers to try for a lower rate — with no impact to your credit score!**
Who can get a student loan with Climb?
At Climb, we identify, assess, and partner with schools that help people reach their goals in a financially responsible way. Partnering with programs that teach everything from cybersecurity to pilot training, heavy machine operation to data science, culinary arts to coding, and much more, we provide their learners with diverse payment options that are structured to meet their unique needs. Click the link below to find out if your school is a Climb partner and see available payment options!
*These numbers reflect the federal interest rates for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2021, and before July 1, 2022.
**Climb performs a “soft” credit pull to evaluate eligibility, but this soft credit check will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull is only performed once the loan is accepted and funded.