Is it hard to get a Student Loan?
It's always best to apply as soon as possible after the first of the year in case you're eligible for any grants that may be depleted later on.
However; if you look at this chart (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1213/pdf/Deadlines.pdf), you'll see that you're just fine time-wise as far as state deadlines for Pennsylvania. Each school may have a different deadline, so you need to check with them.
Call the school you'll be attending and ask if there's anything they need from you right now or if you're on track. Most schools start sending out financial aid awards packages right about now. They'll tell you what aid you're eligible for. Aid can be grants, federal student loans, and work-study.
Obviously, a grant is the very best because you don't have to pay it back. Perkins loans are the next best thing. You don't need to qualify for those as far as having a credit rating.
After a Perkins loan, the next best thing is a subsidized Stafford loan and then an unsubsidized Stafford loan.
When you call the college, ask to speak to someone in the financial aid department. Some schools are better than other at having friendly folks working there who will help you through the process. But, that is what they're there for. So, if you don't understand something, ask again. Be friendly and thankful for their help. It's always good to be on good terms with someone in the office there. When you have someone who is willing to take the time to explain things to you, you're much better off.
Always stick with government loans. Don't get private loans under any circumstances. If you can't afford the college with government loans, work study, etc. you might want to look at a less expensive college. You don't ever want to have to take out private loans.
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