Sarah’s almost done with school, but senior year is going to be brutal. Private student loans may be the answer, but she’s lacking a cosigner.
I’ll let her tell the rest.
I’m an undergrad college student, going into my senior year. I graduate next May & start applying to grad schools in December!
Up to this point, I’ve kept my student debt extremely low – I think I’ve only incurred around $15,000 in government student loans. I’ve been going to college every single session (Summer, Fall, Spring) since Fall 2008 without pause (outside of winter breaks), so I’m fairly proud of myself for keeping it so low.
As well you should be. $5,000 per year in student loans isn’t bad at all, regardless of your major. Unless it’s women’s studies. (JUST KIDDING, women’s studies people — just seein’ if you’re still awake out there). Yeah, $20k in loans isn’t bad at all for a four-year degree.
Next week is the start of the Fall semester – & for the first time, I have had to start considering alternative loan sources. I have too much going on to work; I’m taking three studio art classes (which are EXTREMELY intensive in just one alone), two classes for my major, one writing intensive, commuting to a community college for another class that will help me for grad school, writing & doing the research for my undergrad Honors thesis, volunteering with a hospice on a weekly basis, & I’m the president of one organization & on the board of another. I’m busy, & I don’t think adding more is in my better interest.
I’m going to have to agree with you there — probably not much time for work. And even if you could squeeze some extra hours in, you should probably use them to rest.
My government loans alone won’t be able to support me for the entirety of the school year, & I’m not interested in becoming a literal starving artist.
Yeah, there will be plenty of time for that when the government is NOT loaning you money. 🙂
The problem with looking for alternative loans is that I don’t believe I have a co-signer – I’ve been told my family is in their own debt & they don’t want to add mine, too.
That’ll make things harder, but not impossible. There are private student loans & no cosigner available, though of course the interest rate is higher. Even on these private student loans that do require a cosigner, the cosigner can often be released after 36-48 months of consecutive on-time payments.
How much money are we talking about here? I don’t know how much you need to bridge the gap.
To the absolute best of my ability, I have been very independent & self-supporting since high school & I literally never ask them for help or money or food or clothes or anything, & haven’t even lived in my parent’s house for more than a week or two each year, just for holidays or if I’m bouncing between living situations & need somewhere to keep belongings. I don’t think it’s fair that, with my track record of not asking for help from them, anyone could ever jump to the conclusion that I don’t take responsibility for my own debt & finances, but it seems out of my hands right now.
I can’t tell if you’re referring to your parents or the banks, but either way, I know what you’re saying. Unfortunately, the banks don’t know your track record in that respect.
I asked my step-father about helping me find alternative loans back in April & gently reminded him by asking periodically or giving him paperwork with student loan interest rates, etc., & he’s avoided the subject (whether he’s busy with his own life or genuinely not interested in approaching it altogether). Given the extremely late impression that they can’t / won’t co-sign altogether, now I’m starting to freak out.
Well, don’t freak out. It’s not worth freaking out over, trust me, because — well, what’s the worst that can happen? You can get a few more credit cards in your name and put your expenses on those, and pay way too high of an interest rate. That’s about the worst that could happen, and even in that scenario, you can get over until you reach grad school and your loan limits skyrocket.
I don’t have a bad credit score – I’ve had two credit cards, but I cut one up & just make payments on the account. I always pay above the minimum fee & have never made a late payment, but I still have debt.
If you have a good credit score and you’ve never had a late payment, then that’s actually a great situation. Don’t screw that up — don’t make any late payments, ever. Even if they’re the minimum.
I checked my credit score about a month ago & read that it’s pretty good for my age (22), but I don’t know if that alone is going to help me in getting a loan without a co-signer.
In fact, it’s just about the ONLY thing that’ll help you get a loan without a cosigner. Your credit score is your primary weapon when it comes to — well, being issued credit. 🙂
So, my questions: Should I use the government loans I am receiving to completely pay off my credit cards so it makes my credit score look better, & then apply for private loans?
First, let me kill a misconception you’ve got hidden in there. Your credit score doesn’t necessarily get better by paying off all your credit card debt. In fact, it gets better steadily over time by consistently making on-time payments, and if you’re not making those payments, you’re not enhancing that track record.
However, you’re probably not paying any interest right now on your student loans (if they’re subsidized), so sure, you could pay your credit cards off and save some interest over the long run. However, I’d only do that if you’re going to lean on your credit cards this year if you need them.
If you’re going to leave your credit cards ripped up and out of use — then no, don’t use your loans to pay them off. You’ve gotta stay liquid at all times — meaning, you need access to money, whether it’s cash in hand (from loans) credit cards.
But don’t do it to improve your credit score, because that probably won’t happen.
Are there any recommended private (bank?) loan sources that apply to students without co-signers?
Check out a site called SimpleTuition. They’re a legit middleman site that is connected to lots of reputable lenders.
Should I just give up hope, drop some classes & graduate late, & pick a job back up so I don’t starve?
Well, if you spread the above-mentioned workload over two semesters instead of one, I wouldn’t blame you. But if you want to do it your way, I think you can still make it work.
Please help!!! Thank you for anything you can offer!
It ain’t much, ma’am, but you can have all I got. 🙂 (I know, I’m having way too much fun with this Outlaw theme).
— What about you guys — got any advice for Sarah? Do you need private student loans & no cosigner? Let us know in the comments below.