FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author’s ownpensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.
If you’re a college student, you know how scarily expensive school can be. Your tuition and fees make up only a small portion of your college expenses. According to The College Board, the average student at a public, four-year university will spend $17,100 per year on other costs, such as room and board, transportation, and textbooks.
If you need help paying for school, you might consider taking out a personal loan to cover 30 day payday loans in Clovis some of your expenses. However, using personal loans for college is rarely a good idea. Here’s what you need to know about personal loans, how to get a loan, and what you can do instead to pay for school.
- Can you use personal loans for college?
- Should you use a personal loan while in college? 7 things to consider
- 5 alternatives to personal loans for college students
- Paying for school
Can you use personal loans for college?
Personal loans generally can’t be used to pay for your post-secondary education. Most personal loan lenders explicitly prohibit using your loan to pay for expenses like tuition, room and board, textbooks, or classroom fees.
That restriction is in place because lenders that issue education loans must follow the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which instituted rigorous requirements for lenders. Personal loan lenders make sure borrowers only use personal loans for approved uses so they don’t have to follow these guidelines.
You could use a personal loan for other expenses that are related to your education, such as transportation, food, or a laptop – but even then, a personal loan may not be the best idea.
Should you use a personal loan while in college? 7 things to consider
Personal loans can be appealing. In many cases, you can complete an application online in just a few minutes and get approved right away. If approved, you could get your money in as little as one business day.
1. Personal loans have shorter repayment terms
Personal loans usually have short repayment terms when compared to student loans. Most personal loans have repayment terms of two to seven years, which means you’ll have a much more expensive monthly payment.
By contrast, student loans typically have repayment terms of 10 years. And, if you sign up for an alternative payment plan or consolidate your debt, you could have a loan term of 20 years or more, making your monthly payments more affordable.
2. Student loans tend to have lower interest rates
In general, personal loans tend to be more expensive than student loans. According to the Federal Reserve, the average interest rate on a two-year personal loan was %, as of . That’s significantly higher than the rates on most student loans. For example, federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans have an interest rate of just 4.53% for the 2019-20 school year.
3. Student loans are easier to qualify for
As a student, you likely don’t have much credit history or income, making it difficult to qualify for a personal loan on your own. Even if you do qualify for a loan, you’ll likely get a much higher interest rate than you’d get if your credit were more established.
Student loans work quite differently. You can qualify for a federal student loan without undergoing a credit check, even if you don’t have any income. They’re much easier to qualify for as a college student.