Read through the terms and conditions of every loan (federal and private) that you are applying for. One very important item to take into account is the set disbursement dates. Many federal student loans have set dates, sometimes one month after a semester begins, sometimes before.
If your chosen school requires that tuition be paid prior to the start of the semester in order to attend classes, make sure this won't be a problem. Most private loans can be disbursed within five business days of your application being approved.
You should also check to see how the loan is disbursed. Some lenders will send the funds directly to you in the form of a check. Others might send the funds to the school, but then require the borrower to sign a form or disbursement check and return it to the financial aid offices.
Each of these steps requires some time. If not taken care of promptly, you could end up being withdrawn from your courses and may not be able to return for the semester. Coordinate these dates with your school's financial aid adviser and the lender so that all deadlines are taken into consideration.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|