Best Part-Time Student Loans of 2023

[ad_1]

While a part-time schedule can give you flexibility when pursuing a degree, it may also limit your financial aid options. Students attending school less than half time can’t access federal loans and many private student loans.

Part- or half-time status typically means you’re taking fewer than 12 credits per semester, says James Anderson, director of financial aid at Montclair State University in New Jersey, although each school defines what qualifies as full time. Generally, six credit hours per semester is half-time status.

If you want a federal student loan: The Department of Education offers three types of federal loans, and all of them require students to enroll at least half time.

Direct subsidized loans. Available to undergraduate students based on financial need. They do not accrue interest while you are in school or during deferment periods.

Direct unsubsidized loans. Available to undergraduate, graduate or professional students. They are not need-based and begin to accrue interest immediately.

Direct PLUS loans. Available to graduate and professional students as well as eligible parents of undergraduates. Applicants must meet the Department of Education’s eligibility requirements. PLUS loans require a credit check, but direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans do not.

If you want a private student loan: You’ll need to be enrolled at least half time to qualify for most private loans. Private student loans are made by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions, such as online lenders, rather than the government.

“There are some private loan lenders who will make loans to less-than-full-time students,” Anderson says.

Sallie Mae

Fixed APR 4.50% to 15.49% with autopay
Variable APR 6.37% to 16.70% with autopay
Max. Loan Amount Cost of attendance, minus aid
Min. Credit Score Mid 600s
See Offers

College Ave

Fixed APR 4.41% to 16.99% with autopay
Variable APR 5.49% to 16.99% with autopay
Max. Loan Amount Cost of attendance, minus aid
Min. Credit Score Mid 600s
See Offers

RISLA

Fixed APR 4.45% to 8.99%
Variable APR Not disclosed
Max. Loan Amount $50,000
Min. Credit Score Not disclosed
Read Review
Lender
Learn More
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
Lender
Learn More
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
Lender
Learn More
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score

Lender

Learn More

Fixed APR

Variable APR

Max. Loan Amount

Min. Credit Score

See Offers 4.50% to 15.49% with autopay 6.37% to 16.70% with autopay Cost of attendance, minus aid Mid 600s

See Offers 4.41% to 16.99% with autopay 5.49% to 16.99% with autopay Cost of attendance, minus aid Mid 600s

Read Review 4.45% to 8.99% Not disclosed $50,000 Not disclosed

Minimum FICO Credit Score
Mid 600s

BBB Rating
A+

About Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is a publicly traded consumer bank that offers private student loans to pay for undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees, among other educational needs. Congress started Sallie Mae in 1972 as a government-sponsored entity that serviced student loans. The lender went private in 2004 and today provides a range of student loan products. Additionally, Sallie Mae Bank offers savings products and other tools to help families plan and pay for college, including a credit card that earns bonus cash back to help you pay off any student loan.

Loan Types: Undergraduate, Graduate

Pros

  • Student loans can completely cover school-certified expenses, such as tuition and fees, books, and other related costs.

  • Borrowers pay no loan origination fee.

  • Autopay enrollment qualifies you for a 0.25-percentage-point interest rate discount.

Cons

  • Sallie Mae does not refinance student loans.

  • The lender strongly encourages adding a creditworthy co-signer.

See full profile »

Minimum FICO Credit Score
Mid 600s

BBB Rating
A+

About College Ave

College Ave exclusively offers student loans. Founded in 2014 and based in Wilmington, Delaware, College Ave offers undergraduate, graduate and parent loans for students enrolled at accredited schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. College Ave’s advantage is speed, with applications that take a few minutes to complete and instant decisions.

Loan Types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent, International, Refinance

Pros

  • Get a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction when auto pay is activated.

  • Rapid application and approval process.

  • Career loan programs with a completion incentive available.

  • College Ave loans have no application or origination fees.

Cons

  • Parent loans require at least interest-only payments while the student is in school.

  • Co-signers cannot be released until after more than halfway through the loan term.

See full profile »

Best for fixed APR

RISLA

Minimum FICO Credit Score
Not disclosed

BBB Rating
N/A

About RISLA

The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is a nonprofit quasi-state authority that provides college financing to students and parents. Its loans are available to students across the country.

Loan Types: Undergraduate, Graduate, Parent, Refinance

Pros

  • RISLA rates high in customer service.

  • New nurses working in Rhode Island pay zero interest on their loan for up to four years through RISLA’s Nursing Reward Program.

Cons

  • There is a maximum loan amount of $50,000 per year and aggregate limit of $180,000 per borrower and $200,000 per family for student loans.

See full profile »

Find the Student Loan That’s Right for You

When you’re searching for financial aid and attending college at least half time, start with your federal options, says Mary Jo Lambert-Terry, a managing partner at Yrefy, a private student loan refinancing company.

“Federal programs offer the best rates, options and protections for students during and after enrollment,” Lambert-Terry says.

If you’re taking fewer credits, you may need to check out private student loans. Here are some factors to consider when comparing your loan options:

  • Interest rates. Private student loans may come with a fixed interest rate or a variable rate that can fluctuate over the loan term.
  • Fees. Compare charges such as origination, application and late fees.
  • Loan uses. You may be able to use private loan funds for school-certified expenses, such as tuition costs, fees, books, housing and meals, and travel and supplies.
  • Loan amounts. Lenders usually set minimum and maximum amounts you can borrow based on factors such as your cost of attendance and your creditworthiness.
  • Repayment plans. You may be able to make interest-only or fixed payments in school, which could reduce the interest you owe later.
  • Deferment options. Most lenders allow you to pause payments while you’re enrolled in school at least half time.
  • Hardship options. Private student loans may come with forbearance programs and loan modifications for borrowers who have trouble making payments.

Pros

  • Gets you the funds: If you can’t pull off a higher education without financial assistance, a part-time student loan can help make that happen.
  • Offers flexibility: Not every student has the ability or time to take on a full class load, and part-time student loans offer funds for the course hours you can manage.

Cons

  • Approval not guaranteed: Because some loans aren’t available for students considered half time or less, you may need a certain credit score or a creditworthy co-signer for a part-time loan.
  • Less relief: Some part-time loans may not offer ideal deferment, forbearance or discharge options.
  • Potentially higher cost: Depending on the loan you choose, you may pay a higher interest rate and/or higher fees than what you might get as a full-time student.

Other Financial Aid Options for Part-Time Students

Students enrolled at least half time can also pay for college using grants, scholarships and employer-paid tuition reimbursement benefits. Enrollment status and other requirements vary with each program.

Grants: Students may apply for need-based federal grants that don’t have to be repaid regardless of enrollment status. Unfortunately, grant awards generally decrease when you’re taking fewer than 12 credits.

“Other types of grants and scholarships, whether state-sponsored, university-provided or from private institutions, will have their own eligibility criteria,” says Amy Lins, vice president of enterprise learning at Money Market International, a nonprofit credit counseling agency.

Try searching for private college grants using CareerOneStop, a free online grant and scholarship search tool from the Department of Labor.

Scholarships: Usually scholarships are merit-based, while grants are often need-based, and both are gifts that don’t need to be repaid. You may qualify for scholarships based on academic, athletic, leadership, artistic or other talents.

“Generally, schools and private scholarship programs (that) offer merit scholarships will require full-time enrollment, but not always,” Anderson says.

Employer-paid tuition reimbursement programs: Your company may cover some or all of the costs of your education as a job perk. Employees who use this benefit are usually enrolled less than half time, Anderson says, because they’re also working full time.

Tuition reimbursement programs typically have company-specific rules you must follow, says Will Geiger, co-founder and CEO of Scholarships360 and former senior assistant director of admissions at Kenyon College.

For instance, Geiger says, the employer may ask you to:

  • Work a minimum number of hours weekly to become eligible for the program.
  • Limit your education to specific academic programs or colleges.
  • Stay with the company for a certain period of time after completing the degree because, “They are investing in you as an employee and don’t want you to immediately leave for another opportunity,” Geiger says.

U.S. News selects the Best Loan Companies by evaluating affordability, borrower eligibility criteria and customer service. Those with the highest overall scores are considered the best lenders.

To calculate each score, we use data about the lender and its loan offerings, giving greater weight to factors that matter most to borrowers. The scoring factors for private student loan providers are customer service ratings, fixed APR, variable APR, loan product availability, minimum and maximum loan terms, minimum and maximum loan amounts, minimum FICO score, and online features.

The weight each scoring factor receives is based on a nationwide survey on what borrowers look for in a lender.

To receive a rating, lenders must offer qualifying loans nationwide and have a good reputation within the industry. Read more about our methodology.

To recap, here are the picks:

Best Part-Time Student Loans of October 2023

Part-time students must meet eligibility requirements, such as how many credits you’re taking, to qualify for federal or private student loans.

Federal student loans require at least half-time enrollment, but you may qualify for some grants, scholarships and private student loans if you plan a lighter academic load.

Requirements for federal student loans: Qualification depends on your family’s financial situation, your academic achievements and extracurricular activities, and your enrollment status – generally, at least six credits per semester.

Requirements for private student loans: Qualification is often based on your creditworthiness, loan amount, enrollment status and other factors. Lenders may require a creditworthy co-signer and at least a half-time schedule, although some may allow less than half time.

You can often apply for student loans with private lenders by completing an online application and consenting to a credit check.

Part- or half-time status typically means you’re taking fewer than 12 credits per semester, says James Anderson, director of financial aid at Montclair State University in New Jersey, although each school defines what qualifies as full time. Generally, six credit hours per semester is half-time status.

A number of lenders offer private loans for less-than-half-time students. Eligibility requirements, interest rates, repayment options and loan terms vary by lender, but borrowers must usually apply and pass a credit check.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Comment