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How to Get Emergency Student Loans

Emergency student loans are for students who find themselves in situations where they suddenly are in need of funding to continue their education. Examples of these situations include a death in the family, loss of a job or income, and natural disasters. If you are in need for quick funding for your education, continue reading to learn how to get emergency student loans!

Also see: Guide to student loan relief for COVID-19

About emergency student loans

Emergency student loans are generally disbursed and repaid in a quick timeframe. They come with lower interest rates and fees than regular student loans. Emergency student loans are usually offered in smaller values than regular loans. They’re designed to pay for things such as housing or transportation. They are not intended to cover a student’s entire tuition.

These loans come from a variety of sources. Students can receive emergency student loans from their school, their state, educational nonprofits, federal aid programs, or private lenders. 

Learn more: Navigating different types of student loans

How to get emergency student loans

There are a few ways to get emergency student loans:

From your school

If you find yourself in need of emergency aid, check with your school first. According to a study conducted by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 2016, 82% of public four-year institutions in the U.S. have an emergency aid program. 

These programs differ from school to school. However, most have similar requirements for eligibility. These requirements include active enrollment at your school, no other past-due emergency loans, and no registration holds on your account. Most schools require an application, too.

Visit your school’s financial aid office, and speak to the financial aid administrator. This person will know all the forms of emergency funding you may be eligible for. 

Related: What is need-based financial aid?

Claim federal student loans

Students who filled out the FAFSA will likely receive some aid or loan from the Department of Education. Check your account to see if you have unused aid or loans remaining. These loans can be claimed at any time.

See also: FAFSA 101 Guide

Private emergency student loans

Private lenders can also provide quick funds. However, private loans do not come with the same benefits that federal loans or loans from your school do. They also have higher interest rates and fees. You will also need good credit or a cosigner to receive a private loan.

If you need more funds than what the government or your school offers, private loans often let students borrow up to the cost of attendance. Keep in mind, however, that private loans typically have the least favorable loan conditions. Many private lenders seek to prey on students who need emergency loans, offering them high interest rates and unreasonable repayment plans to ensure that they are forced to pay higher fees.

If you are seeking emergency financial aid, it’s a good idea to think twice about tapping too heavily into private loans. As difficult as the decision may be, sometimes it can be best to take a break from college and work on your financial situation rather than going into deep debt. This may seem terrible, but it is better than going into loan default a few years down the line.

Remember, you can also continue working on your education even if you’re struggling financially. Consider taking classes at a community college while you work to improve your financial situation. While it’s no substitute for the college situation you are in now, it can be a good compromise, and preferable to dropping out entirely.

Related: How to use private loan marketplaces

Are emergency student loans right for you?

If you’re in a difficult situation and need funding, an emergency student loan may sound appealing. It’s important to remember that emergency student loans need to be paid back like other loans. They also often come with a servicing fee. Be sure you can afford to take on the debt as well as pay any fees.

Emergency student loans also have to be paid back quickly. Make sure to stick to the repayment schedule to avoid anything that could prevent you from getting your education. 

Lastly, there may be a borrowing limit to these types of loans. If you are in need of more funds, a regular loan or private loan may be right for you.

Learn more: Student loan default: What it is and how to avoid it

Other forms of emergency aid

If you are not eligible for emergency student loans, or you don’t want to take on the debt, there are a few other options.

Through professional judgement review, your school’s financial aid administrator can re-evaluate the financial aid package you received. In some cases, they can even negotiate a new one. The financial aid administrator has the power to update the information on your FAFSA so that you qualify for more aid. For example, if you lost a parent, the administrator could remove their income. 

Another option is to talk to the financial aid office about a bill extension or repayment plan. The extension could give you more time to pay your tuition or other fees. Financial aid administrators can offer you an extension or payment in installments.

Lastly, many schools offer emergency options other than loans. Grants are sometimes awarded to students experiencing hardship. Schools also often have a program to help fund campus-related costs such as housing or meals at dining halls. There may also be a funded alumni or a nonprofit program independent of your school. 

There is help out there for students who find themselves in immediate financial need. Be sure to research your school’s emergency aid programs or private loans if you need assistance!

Keep reading: Emergency financial aid for college students