An emergency student loan can throw you a financial lifeline if you’re suddenly out of cash. You could face paying for unexpected tuition costs, higher living expenses, or some other emergency. For example, maybe you lost your job, had medical expenses to pay, or a family member died. Whatever your situation, it’s crucial to get financial help as soon as possible.
Not being able to afford living expenses has a severe impact on your ability to study well at college. You need money to eat, pay for housing, get to college, and pay for the internet if you take online courses. If you’re a non-traditional student, you may also have childcare costs and a family to care for. So, if an emergency arises, a quick student loan could get you out of a tricky situation.
Benefits of Emergency Student Loans
One of the benefits of emergency loans for students is that they are available throughout the year. You can apply for one if something unexpected quickly drains your bank account. Typically, you get the emergency funding within a few hours of applying if you are eligible.
Of course, as with any student loan, you need to pay the money back. This means that getting last-minute funding isn’t for everyone. Usually, you should only apply for a quick student loan to cover a temporary blip in your cashflow.
This article guides you through the process of applying for an emergency student loan.
What Are Emergency Student Loans?
Emergency student loans are interest-free, short-term loans. Students can apply for an instant student loan if they need quick help to pay housing costs, afford their bills, or cover other expenses. Schools can provide emergency financial help so students can continue their education despite an unexpected event.
How Much Can You Get with Last-Minute Funding?
Emergency student loans provide last-minute funding to avoid worrying about paying living expenses or transportation. Instant student loans are typically up to $1,000. You usually have 30 to 60 days to repay the loan, and most colleges provide interest-free cash to help prevent you from dropping out of school.
It’s vital to remember that emergency loans aren’t for paying tuition and fees.
How to Get an Emergency Student Loan
If you are struggling to pay student housing, bills, or expenses, how can you get a quick financial fix? The first step is to speak to your school’s financial aid office. Schools have an emergency fund to help students who experience a crisis continue their studies. The financial aid officer can give you the best advice on where to get last-minute emergency funding.
The financial officer will evaluate your situation. Usually, to qualify for an instant student loan, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be actively enrolled at your college.
- Not have any current short-term student loans.
- Have no history of receiving emergency loans in that semester.
- Not have any registration holds on your account.
Of course, each college has its own requirements when it comes to approving emergency aid. For example, some schools require a certain GPA to grant you a quick loan.
Depending on your situation, the financial aid officer can advise on other sources of emergency funding. For example, you may qualify for an interest-free, instant loan from your state, educational non-profit organizations, or federal aid programs.
Top tip when applying for emergency student loans: Try to find out about as many options as possible for last-minute funding before meeting with the financial aid officer.
Are Instant Student Loans for You?
Just because you are eligible for a quick student loan doesn’t mean it’s for you. The process to get an emergency loan may be straightforward. And it could seem like an excellent quick-fix for a rough situation. But there are a few things to keep in mind.
Things to consider before applying for an emergency student loan:
- Eligibility requirements — You usually must meet specific requirements to get last-minute financial assistance. Some schools have strict guidelines on being eligible for quick loans, whereas others don’t provide any emergency funding.
- How much do you need? — Because you must repay the loan, it makes sense only to borrow as much as you need. The repayment terms of fast student loans are usually 30 to 60 days. So, ensure that you really need the money and only apply for last-minute funding as a last resort.
- Cost of the loan — Although most emergency loans are interest-free, you may have to pay a service fee.
- Can you repay the loan? — It’s not worth taking on more debt if you can’t afford it. So, make sure you can afford to repay the student loan. If you fail to repay the loan, you could put your education at risk. Late emergency loan payments could incur late fees, or you might not be able to register for some classes.
Alternatives to Emergency Student Loans for Last-Minute Funding
How can you get out of a rough situation if you can’t get an emergency loan? There may be other financial aid options available to you without getting into more debt. In some cases, it makes sense to explore these alternatives to emergency loans before applying for one.
Here are three options to get financial assistance to avoid dropping out of school.
1. Apply for a professional judgment review
If your situation has changed, you may be able to apply for a professional judgment review. The financial aid officer can revise the data on your FAFSA form if you have permanently lost a source of income — for example, if a parent has died. This way, you may be eligible for a better student aid package.
Related reading: How to avoid costly FAFSA mistakes.
2. Apply for scholarships or other sources of help
You may be able to apply for scholarships or grants to help see you through a tough time. Some grants and scholarships are awarded based on financial hardship. Or you may find that your college has a voucher scheme to help pay for meals or books.
In some cases, you could explore local food pantries to lower your food bills and have more cash to pay for utilities.
3. Apply for payment plans
To avoid dropping out of college due to a financial crisis, you could apply for payment plans. Some colleges are willing to negotiate to extend deadlines to give you more time to pay your bills. This opportunity can give you “breathing space” to look for grants and scholarships.
Additionally, you could speak with your utility providers if you can’t pay specific bills. They may be able to offer hardship plans or deferred payments if your financial woes are only temporary.
Getting Emergency Student Loans: Action Steps
If you’re facing an unexpected crisis, there’s help available. Speak to your school’s financial aid office to find out what type of assistance is available. You may be able to arrange a quick emergency student loan to get you through temporary financial hardship. Or, you might find other sources of funding to help pay for college.