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NC Assist Blog – How Do I apply for a Student Loan?



Budgeting Financial Aid Student Loans College Planning

5 minute read


There are so many students like you right now — trying to figure out what to major in, what college clubs they may join, and also wondering how to pay for it all. You’ve applied for scholarships and even stowed away some money in your NC 529 college savings account, but there’s still a gap to fill costs.

You’ve come to the conclusion that you’re going to need a student loan to help with college, but now you may be wondering, “How do I apply for a student loan?” It’s hard to know where to get started with scholarships and loans, but we’re here to help.

Types of Student Loans

There are several types of student loans — federal direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans and private loans. No matter which type of loan you get, it’s important to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for financial aid like grants and scholarships. Completing the FAFSA also opens your eligibility for student loans through the federal government. There are two main types of student loans offered through the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans: These are federal student loans available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on these loans when the student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during any deferment periods, which helps to lower the overall cost.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These are federal loans available to undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of financial need. Interest accrues on these loans from the time they are disbursed, including while students are in school, which can result in a higher total amount owed over the life of the loan.

While using federal student loans can be beneficial, they do have limits, and there still may be college costs that you need help covering. If you need additional money for college, private loans might be the answer for you. However, not all private loans offer the same rates and terms:

  • Private Loans Offered Through a Bank or Credit Union: Many private student loans are offered by banks and credit unions. These may come with higher interest rates and extra fees that can add up over time. It’s important to do your research so you understand the terms of any student loan before you borrow.
  • Private Loans Offered by a Nonprofit Lender: A nonprofit lender is typically not lending money to make a profit. For example, the NC Assist Loan is offered through College Foundation, Inc., a North Carolina nonprofit lender. Loans are available to students and parents of students who are residents of North Carolina or who attend school here. By offering competitive fixed rates and never charging fees, NC Assist is not focused on making big bucks off your loan. The goal is to get you to college and get you the degree you want.

What’s Needed to Apply for a Student Loan?

Before you start applying for student loans, you’ll need to gather a few things to make the process easy. So, as soon as you start thinking, “How do I apply for a student loan?” start with this step. You will likely need much of the same information to fill out the FAFSA, so it’s smart to gather all the documents and information and then save everything in one place. Whether you’re applying for a federal, private, or alternative student loan will determine exactly what you need.

For federal loans, you’ll need to submit the FAFSA application, so you’ll need your social security number, tax returns, W-2s, FSA ID, and other records, depending on your specific situation.

For private loans, like the NC Assist Loan, you’ll need to have these things on hand:

  • Show North Carolina residency or be attending a North Carolina school.
  • A good credit score or a co-signer who meets the income and credit requirements.
  • Identification such as social security number, and driver’s license number.
  • How much you’ll need to borrow.
  • Cost of attendance.

How to Apply for a Student Loan

For most loans, the question, “How do I apply for a student loan?” will lead you to the lender’s website. You’ll likely need to create a log-in, fill out the questions they ask, and submit any requested documentation.

For an NC Student Assist loan, simply go to our website, create an account, and follow the prompts. You’ll already have all those documents ready and on hand, so it’ll be a smooth application.

If your application is approved, you’ll be able to review your interest rate and repayment options before signing the loan document and receiving your funds for school. You can apply for additional funding each year you’re in school.

Let NC Assist Help Pay for Your College Degree

Ready to get started with college? We can help with every step of the way while giving you access to valuable financial resources and information. The NC Assist Loan is more than a loan, it’s a bridge to your future. Choose the loan that’s right for you and submit your application online.

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