Student loans above cost of attendance?
April 29, 2009 9:11 PM   Subscribe

For doctoral grad school: what does one need to do to borrow more than the school's "cost of attendance"? I know federal loans don't permit this; which private lenders do? Will private student lenders lend out despite a lack of income or assets, and despite previous student loans (though no defaults, and good credit)?
posted by Malad to Education (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This depends a great deal on your field. If you're in the hard sciences, you should be paying nothing and receiving a decent stipend. This is especially biomedical-related fields.

If you're working on a degree like english literature or medieval history, then yes, you'll likely be paying.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:21 PM on April 29, 2009

Sigh, it seems as though I misread the question. Mods, feel free to delete
posted by chrisamiller at 9:23 PM on April 29, 2009

Private lenders will require a creditworthy co-signer. To get more money you'll have to increase the "cost of attendance" -- usually by going to your university's finaid office with proof of extraordinary expenses (child care, housing, medical). They will not increase your budget for credit cards or cars or anything like that. Once they authorize that you'll either be able to increase your existing loans or get new loans.
(This is from what I remember from 6 years ago, but I don't think things have changed that much. I had to do this one quarter and the finaid office acted like they were doing me a huge favor -- they literally said they were "giving" me money. Um, no, you're allowing me to put myself further in hock for the rest of my life...but thanks.)
posted by katemonster at 9:28 PM on April 29, 2009

I got a loan more than the cost of attendence without a co-signer. I have ridiculously excellent credit, for no good reason (well, I don't buy anything) but no assets. But it shouldn't be a problem. I'm going with discover, they seem to be on the money but I'm just getting started. It was insanely easy to take out a loan for $16k (this is in addition to $25k in federal loans).
posted by sully75 at 4:23 AM on April 30, 2009

Lenders will give you whatever your financial aid office authorizes. No more. Most schools include living expenses as part of "cost of attendance" and have a budget pre-approved for students. If you want more than that, head down to your financial aid office and they'll have forms for you to fill out to show why your expenses are higher than that. They usually don't ask too many questions, but be prepared to show documentation for expenses if they ask for it, which they might.

You probably won't need a co-signer if your credit is okay. I didn't.
posted by valkyryn at 5:38 AM on April 30, 2009

I recently started taking classes at a university near where I live, and applied for CitiAssist Graduate loans. Both times I asked for nearly double the tuition cost so I could put some towards rent and other expenses. As I understand the process, Citi takes my loan request and sends in to my school, which then has to authorize the amount (I had no dialogue with the school regarding the authorization process). The first loan amount was fully authorized, and due to some timing issues, the second loan was authorized for a full 325% of tuition. So, this might just be my school being lax on authorization standards, but all I had to do for Citi was request the amount I wanted, no need to substantiate the number at all.
posted by undercoverhuwaaah at 6:39 AM on April 30, 2009

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