Please tell me, using layman's terms whenever possibly, everything you know about student loans. (backstory inside)
Two years ago I graduated from high school, and proceeded to go to a college at a small, out-of-state school. My parents (at that point) were paying for my education. Earlier this summer, I decided to transfer to a bigger, in-state school. My parents are 100% not okay with this decision, and have effectively cut me off financially (or at least will stop paying tuition, housing, books, etc in the fall). I am more or less okay with this. I am willing to accept the financial responsibilities of this decision.
However, of course I still have to file as a dependent on the FAFSA, the problem being that my dad makes too much money for me to qualify for any kind of federal aid at all. Okay, actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't filed a FAFSA (ever), because my dad has promised me all along that if I do I won't qualify for jack squat. Furthermore, because I applied so late, I'm too late to qualify for any kind of merit-based scholarships through the school (I do have a strong academic record).
So, if federal aid is out, and scholarships are out, it seems to me that my only option is to take out a private loan. The problem is, I don't know the first thing in the world about taking out a loan, because I've never had to until recently. I've looked here
, and here
in an attempt to do some research, but I'm totally lost and mildly overwhelmed as to how to proceed. How does one begin to compare banks and interest rates and know which one is the best option? How do I know how much money to take out? If I take out too little, can I take out more later? How long will the process take after I apply for a loan? What other factors should I be taking into account?
I'm just really pretty clueless about all this, and would love to not get myself in massive debt, if possible. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. :)