College Countdown: Prepare Your Finances

Here’s how to make sure you have the funds you need to start college this fall.

By Navy Federal June 24, 2020

While heading to college is an exciting adventure, this year schools everywhere could look and feel a bit different. You may be wondering when your semester will begin, if your classes will be online or in a classroom and what on-campus living will be like. For those of you hoping to go back to school soon, finances may also be up in the air. Now is the time to focus on your financial plan to pay for college. Getting your finances in order now will help you stay on track so you’re ready for the fall semester.

Getting Your Finances in Order

If you’re committed to a school for the fall and have a gap in funding, it’s important to apply for student loans so you’re ready for the start of classes—whether they’re online or in-person or a mix of both. Plan and apply for the loans you need now, so that you don’t miss your school’s deadline and the opportunity to get the funding you need.

Applying for Private Student Loans

Private student loans are available when federal student loans, grants, savings and scholarships don’t cover the cost of tuition. Most private lenders offer online applications. It doesn’t take long to fill out the private student loan application. If you apply for a Navy Federal Credit Union student loan, it takes less than 15 minutes to apply. And remember—just because you applied for the loan now, you don’t have to repay immediately. For Navy Federal loans, students are given up to 4.5 years of in-school time plus a 6-month grace period before entering the full repayment period.

Choosing a Co-Signer

If you’re concerned about getting approved for a loan on your own, you can apply with a co-signer. Even if you do qualify for a private loan on your own, you may want to consider adding a co-signer to help lower your interest rate. Parents are most commonly co-signers for their students, but you can choose any eligible family member or friend who is willing to assume responsibility of the loan along with you. Many private lenders will allow a co-signer to be released from the loan once the borrower has entered full repayment or graduated, and has made a total of 24 consecutive, on-time payments.

Borrowing the Right Amount

When going through the student loan process, it can be hard to know if you’re borrowing too much or too little. Especially given the current environment, you may be unsure of how much you’ll need. Once your lender approves the loan, your school will certify your loan amount based on the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, books, computers, meals, travel home and housing. Your school will take into account any scholarships, financial aid or grants that you were awarded.

We’re Here to Help

Navy Federal is here to help. We have a dedicated team of student lending experts who can provide guidance and answer all your questions. Plus, there’s a Career Assistance Program available with all our Student Loans. The Program has online tools and training that can help improve your resume, hone your interview skills and provide job search and interview tips.

You don’t have to miss out on your education due to current economic uncertainty. Visit our student loan page or contact one of our student lending experts and let us help you understand your options to pay for college today.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.