How to Get a Student Loan for Online College
Our goal is to give you the tools and the confidence you need to improve your finances. While we do receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are ours. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to herein as “Credible”.
Online schools have advantages such as flexible hours and potentially lower costs (and the ability to go to school in pajamas). If you are considering a school like this, you might be wondering if you can pay it off with student loans online.
Here is what you need to know about student loans for colleges online:
Check your school’s accreditation status for federal loans
If you are considering federal student loans vs private student loansIt is generally a good idea to start with federal student loans. This is because they come with several protections and benefits for borrowers, including deferral and forbearance options, income-based repayment, and student loan forgiveness programs.
To be eligible for federal student loans, an online college must be accredited by the US Department of Education. You can check the Database of accredited post-secondary institutions and programs to see if your school is accredited.
Some of the best accredited schools with fully online degrees include:
- Ohio State University
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- University of Illinois
- University of Florida
- Oregon State University
Learn more: How to take out a student loan
Complete the FAFSA
Your first step in finding student loans for colleges online should be completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps determine your eligibility for federal student aid, including federal loans and scholarships.
It’s a good idea to complete the FAFSA even if you don’t think you qualify for federal grants or student loans. After all, you might qualify for other programs that you don’t know about.
Once you have completed the FAFSA, you will receive a financial aid award letter from your school’s financial aid office. This letter will detail the federal student loans and what grants you are eligible for. You can then decide which aid you want to accept.
Some colleges and states also have their own FAFSA deadlines. Be sure to check with your school so you don’t miss any important dates.
Learn more: Guide to each type of student loan available
View private student loan rates
If you’ve exhausted your federal student loan options, private student loans could help close any funding gaps. If you have excellent credit, you might even find lower interest rates with private student loans compared to Federal PLUS loans.
It’s a good idea to consider as many private student lenders as possible to find the loan that’s right for you. Credible makes it easy for you: you can compare the rates of all our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.
Borrow only what you need
If you attend an online school, you can save on common costs like accommodation and food. This means that you can probably pay for your education with less student loans than the average student.
Also keep in mind that while it can be easy to take out student loans, you will eventually have to pay back the money you borrow. Make sure you only borrow what you need. This way, you will have lower loan balances to repay in the future.
Find out how much you will owe over the term of your federal or private student loans by using our student loan calculator below.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
loan, you will pay
monthly and a total of
interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of
over the life of the loan, assuming you make full payments while in school.
Need a student loan?
Compare rates without affecting your credit score. 100% free!
Consult the personalized rates
Checking rates will not affect your credit score.
Learn more: How to get a student loan without a credit check