How to get a student loan for college online

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Online schools have advantages such as flexible hours and potentially lower costs (and the ability to go to school in pajamas). If you are considering a school like this, you might be wondering if you can pay it off with student loans online.

Here is what you need to know about student loans for colleges online:

Check your school’s accreditation status for federal loans

If you are considering federal student loans versus private student loans, it is generally a good idea to start with federal student loans. This is because they come with several protections and benefits for borrowers, including deferral and forbearance options, income-based repayment, and student loan forgiveness programs.

To be eligible for federal student loans, an online college must be accredited by the US Department of Education. You can search the database of accredited post-secondary institutions and programs to see if your school is accredited.

Some of the best accredited schools with fully online degrees include:

  • Ohio State University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Florida
  • Oregon State University

Learn more: How to take out a student loan

Complete the FAFSA

Your first step in finding student loans for colleges online should be completing the Free Federal Student Assistance Application (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps determine your eligibility for federal student aid, including federal loans and scholarships.

It’s a good idea to complete the FAFSA even if you don’t think you qualify for federal grants or student loans. After all, you might qualify for other programs that you don’t know about.

Once you have completed the FAFSA, you will receive a financial aid award letter from your school’s financial aid office. This letter will detail the federal loans and scholarships for which you are eligible. You can then decide which aid you want to accept.

Don’t miss the deadline! Make sure you complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to avoid missing out on federal student aid. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the deadline is June 30, 2023.

Some colleges and states also have their own FAFSA deadlines. Be sure to check with your school so you don’t miss any important dates.

Learn more: Guide to each type of student loan available

View private student loan rates

If you’ve exhausted your federal student loan options, private student loans could help fill the funding gap. If you have excellent credit, you might even find lower interest rates with private student loans compared to Federal PLUS loans.

Advice: When shopping for private student loans for colleges online, be sure to check the list of approved schools from each lender. Some private lenders only offer loans to students enrolled in certain schools, which may not include any online colleges you are considering.

It’s a good idea to consider as many private student lenders as possible to find the loan that’s right for you. Credible makes it easy for you: you can compare the rates of all our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.

Lender Fixed rates from (APR) Variable prices from (APR)

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

2.91% +

1.48% +

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

3.23% +1

1.03% +1

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

2.99% +2.3


0.99% +2.3

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

3.75% + 1.08% +

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

3.0% +7

2.17% +7

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

3.83% +8

1.69% +8

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

3.75% +

N / A

Credible assessment



Credible lender ratings are reviewed by our editorial team with the assistance of our lending operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points covering interest rates, loan terms, transparency of eligibility terms, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, loan options. co-signer, etc. Read our full methodology.

3.5% – 12.6% APR9

1.13% – 11.23% APR9

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Lowest APRs Reflect Auto Pay, Loyalty and Interest Only Discounts, where applicable | 1Citizen Disclosures | 2.3College Avenue Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8Invested disclosures | 9Sallie Mae disclosures

Borrow only what you need

If you attend an online school, you can save on common costs like accommodation and food. This means that you can probably pay for your education with less student loans than the average student.

Also keep in mind that while it can be easy to take out student loans, you will eventually have to pay back the money you borrow. Make sure you only borrow what you need. This way, you will have lower loan balances to repay in the future.

Find out how much you will owe over the term of your federal or private student loans by using our student loan calculator below.

Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay

Total payment
$

Total interest
$

Monthly payment
$

With a
$

loan, you will pay
$

monthly and a total of
$

interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of
$

over the life of the loan, assuming you make full payments while in school.


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Learn more: How to get a student loan without a credit check

About the Author

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is an expert in personal finance. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Investopedia, The Balance, The Huffington Post, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Mint.com and more.

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