In this day and age, we're used to one-stop shopping for practically all of our needs. Sometimes even the Internet lets us skip any paperwork altogether and apply for any loans we might need in one fell swoop.
So you might be asking yourself, can I fill out one application for all of my student loans?
There's so much information an applicant needs to provide — it would indeed be so much easier to fill out just one packet or online form.
Thankfully, there are situations that allow you to fill out just one application for all of your student loans. Unfortunately, this usually only falls under the confines of “different loan, same source.”
For example, in the United States, loans made by the federal government (Stafford, Perkins, Plus etc.) can be applied for at one time using FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). You can fill out the FAFSA at one time and submit online using a personal identification number to substitute for a written signature, or you can print out and mail after writing in your information. Also, these forms can be picked up at some libraries or mailed to your home upon request.
You will fill out all kinds of information, like your family or individual income level, veteran status if any, schools you're applying to, dependents and tax information. The kind of federal loan you receive (or not) will be determined by the information provided by this one application and based on your total need, except for certain unsubsidized loans.
Private loans are a somewhat different matter. Because each private lender has different areas of loan expertise and profit goals, they usually require a different application for each loan. However, there are instances where a particularly large lender might have subsidiaries that provide different types of loans; in this case, one application to its central loan office will suffice.
Other entities that offer private loans might only require one application, which can then be critiqued by different sectors of that organization for different available loans. These entities included foundations, religious organizations, civic groups, your union or your parents' unions, your employer or your parents' employers.
Students pursuing specific undergraduate majors or graduate degrees should check with organizations related to their particular field of study, such as the American Bar Association or the American Medical Association.
Also, your school of choice will likely have one financial aid coordinator assigned to you; take advantage of the campus resources, because they will often have you fill out just one application which can then be considered by the school's own financial aid programs, alumni organizations and community businesses.
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