Education Loans in Virginia

Student loans in Virginia are available through private lenders, education institutes and the federal government. Student loans are meant to assist students and their families afford higher education and professional school programs. Loan eligibility can be based off Virginia education financial aid requirements, student enrollment status, credit score or other criteria specific to different loan programs. There are loan opportunities available for all students seeking financial assistance to further their careers, but not all of those opportunities are advantageous. To learn more about Virginia student loans and what to keep in mind as you apply to these programs, continue reading the sections below.

What student loans are available in Virginia?

Private and federal student loans in Virginia are available to all qualifying applicants. There are a few differences between federal and private student loans in Virginia that you should be aware of before you decide which loans to apply for. It is also important to know who you are borrowing from when you choose to receive a loan. Private student loans are provided by banks, credit unions and sometimes educational institutes. Federal loans are provided by the U.S. Department of Education and require repayment directly to the federal government. There are also federal student loan programs that are affiliated with school financial aid programs and require repayment directly to the school rather than the government. The most prominent federal loan programs available include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Direct PLUS Loans.
  • Federal Perkins Loans.

Federal student loans in Virginia are often recommended over private loans for a variety of different reasons. Federal student loans often have more benefits than private loans, such as fixed interest rates, deferment opportunities, income-based repayment plans and eligibility for loan forgiveness. For example, the state of Virginia has several loan forgiveness programs available for teachers who received subsidized loans from the government. In addition, students will not need to start repaying their federal student loans until after graduation, which is not the case with private loans. Virginia student loan payment penalties also do not apply to those with a federal loan, but may need to be discussed with a private lender to confirm if payment penalties are part of your loan agreement or not. Federal student loans may not be the best student loans in Virginia, but they have a lengthy list of advantages you should consider before choosing the loan program that works best for you. At the very least, comparing federal and private loan criteria will help you distinguish between the conditions that will help or harm you in the future as you repay your loan. Download our comprehensive guide to learn more about the types of student loans available.

Who is eligible for a student loan in Virginia?

Student loans in Virginia are available to U.S. citizens, legal residents and eligible non-citizens. Some federal student loans, such as Direct Subsidized Loans and the Federal Perkins Loan, are need-based and require a student to have a certain amount of financial need to qualify. Other loans require students to be in a certain grade level like the Direct PLUS Loan, which is only available to graduate and professional degree students. Parents with a dependent in an undergraduate program also qualify for the Direct PLUS Loan. Private student loans in Virginia have a completely different set of criteria. Private loans require a credit check, which most federal loan programs do not, and applicants need a certain credit score to be able to borrow different amounts. Private student loans also have more restrictions on payment plans and are allowed to change interest rates over time depending on the amount that you owe. There are requirements for different student loans, so be sure to read over all the details thoroughly before applying.

How do I apply for a student loan in Virginia?

Before you can apply to any federal student loan program, you must first fill out a FAFSA. Because some federal student loans in Virginia are based on financial need, a FAFSA is necessary for both your school and the federal government to determine your eligibility. After you have correctly filled out a FAFSA and received federal student loan approval, you will be required to complete a loan entrance counseling course provided by the U.S. Department of Education. When your entrance counseling is complete, you will be required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN), which shows that you acknowledge the loan conditions and accept responsibility for future repayment of the loan. After you have accepted your Virginia student loan, you should contact your chosen school to ask about how they handle federal loans and what further steps you may need to use your loan to pay for your education. Each school has its own procedures when it comes to processing student loans, which is why it is important to contact them before you are required to pay any tuition or class fees. For private student loans in Virginia, you will need to apply directly through the bank, credit union or money lending entity of your choice. Learn more about applying for student loans by downloading our free guide.

Before you take out a student loan, remember to accurately determine how much you need to borrow. You should also estimate your future earnings and what your monthly loan payments may look like with interest included. A clear plan of how you will repay your Virginia student loans after graduation is good to have before applying to any student loan program.

Virginia Employment Commission