Technical School Loans
Where to Find the Money that Fits Your Educational Plan
Technical schools come in all sizes and shapes: four-year elite universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), two-year technical programs at community college and technical certificate programs. When it comes time to talking about financing a technical school degree the variety of loans reflects this diversity.
If you are planning on pursuing a technical degree at a four or two year college or university and enrolling at least half time, then you first need to know about your federal student loan options.
**Always apply for Federal loans first. Why? They are some of the most affordable and accessible of all the types of student loans you have available.
Federal loans that require no credit check include the Stafford Loans and the Perkins Loans. Staffords come in subsidized and unsubsidized versions and are often called the most popular. Perkins Loans are campus-based aid—they are awarded directly from your college if it participates and are dished out on a first come, first served basis. The best strategy for winning Perkins funds if you qualify is to apply early with the FAFSA, early to college and as soon as possible to your financial aid office for the Perkins Loan. Once funds are gone they are not available again for another year.
Federal Loans for Graduate Technical Students
Graduate students if you’re heading into a Masters level technical program and you need more funds than what the Stafford Loans provide, before you use private student loans, check out the features of the PLUS Loan for Graduates and Professionals. The biggest difference you’ll find between this and the undergraduate federal loans is the required credit check. Bad credit or no credit? Don’t let that turn you off from affordable federal loans—the solution is simple: borrow with a co-signor.
Applying for Your Federal Loans
Apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Apply online or print off a paper copy and mail it back to the Department of Education, but this is the only way to apply for loans from the federal government—the Direct Loan Program and Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). If you are confused about the various types of federal loans, including where and how to find them then check out our resource pages on these student loan essentials.
Private Student Loans for Technical School
Reasons to use private loans: when your federal loans don’t cover the whole cost of attending technical school and when you don’t qualify for federal loans.
Sallie Mae offers a Signature Student Loan for Community Colleges, which is uniquely built for the borrowing needs of CC students, many of whom are pursuing technical programs.
Federal loans fail many technical school students. When you are not pursuing a degree program, or when you fail to enroll at least half time, federal loans won’t work for you. If this is your story private student loans may be your best bet.
Commercial student loan providers of all kinds offer their own brand of customized, credit-based loans. Sometimes your higher educational pursuits fall outside the cut-and-dry edges of traditional higher education.
Technical schools are enjoying a renaissance. New generations of students, both college age and otherwise, are discovering the benefits of getting to the nitty-gritty of specialty programs. But this comes at a price. Don’t neglect your student loan opportunities.