How to Get Student Loans for Community College

By Brittany Loeffler on September 21, 2020

Choosing to go to a community college over a four-year university can save you a lot of money by the time you graduate with a degree. However, that doesn’t mean that you may not have to take out student loans for community college. While community college is seen as the more economical option, it can still carry quite a hefty price tag.

Luckily, there are ways to get financial help when attending a community college. Students have a few different options to receive student loans and help them achieve their goal of receiving a degree.

student loans for community college

via Pixabay


The federal government has a program where you can qualify for federal student loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This program is based on either yours or your parents’ income and will determine how much money you qualify for in loans and grants.

These loans and grants can be repaid in multiple ways, using multiple plans. One of the greatest benefits is that you can pay your student loans back based on your income. Therefore, if you are unemployed and not making anything, then you wouldn’t have a payment due during that time period. There are also student loan forgiveness programs, which you may qualify for with your career.

Keep in mind that there are loan limits in place for FAFSA. Students who are considered dependents, those who live with their parents and don’t support themselves, can borrow up to $31,000. If more is needed, parents can take out a loan in their name using FAFSA as well. Students who are considered independents, those who are over 26 years old, served in the military, or are married, can borrow up to $57,000.

Some community colleges do not accept FAFSA student loans, so before you commit to taking out this loan, check with your community college.

Private Loans

If your community college does not accept federal student loans, you have another option: private loans. There are plenty of private loan services out there for student loans. You’ve probably heard of Sallie Mae before.

The most important thing to do when taking out private student loans is to shop around with different lenders. Each lender will have a different interest rate and loan terms that will determine how you pay back your loans and how much overall.

Some things to keep in mind when searching for the right private student loan lender:

    • Interest Rate
    • Required Cosigner
    • Approval Qualifications
    • Payback Period
    • Deferment and Repayment Options
    • Reviews and Ratings

While private student loans don’t have the forgiveness of federal student loans, they do come with some pretty nice perks sometimes. You may find one that will actually pay you for getting good grades or one that offers free tutoring. It pays to shop around.

To thoroughly compare private student loans, use Credible.

Other Resources

When student loans aren’t enough, there are other resources you can turn to when in need of money for college. Scholarships are a great resource for students who need help paying their college tuition. There are a variety of scholarships available to you. Some have the strangest requirements too.

Another option is through federal grants. Unlike student loans, you won’t have to repay the grants that are awarded to you. There are a variety of grants you can apply to, so make sure you take your time and do your research.

Work-study programs may be in place at your community college. In exchange for working a part-time job on campus, you can earn money towards your tuition without worrying about interest rates and paying it back in the end. This is a great way to gain work experience while also cutting down on your tuition.

You can ask your community if they offer any other scholarships or grants for your tuition as well. Many students are too afraid to ask, but the worse they can say is “No!” It never hurts to ask for help.

Student Loans for Community College

Choosing to go to community college before attending a university for your degree can save you some big bucks in the long run, especially if you are living at home and commuting. However, you may still need some financial help to pay the tuition.

There are quite a few options for students who require financial aid. There are federal and private loans that you can apply for. Make sure to check and see if your community college accepts the type of loan you are looking to take out, though.

Go directly to your community college and ask if they have a work-study program or scholarships to help you out. Apply for federal grants and private scholarships. Every dollar you can get counts!

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