Need a small loan to help pay for a summer graduate course
May 12, 2010 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Need a small loan to help pay for a summer graduate course. I'm fortunate that I did not have to ever apply for/take out a student loan at any point during my education. Now, I need 3 summer credits to complete my Master's degree, and I'll need a loan.

I am well past the deadline for FAFSA, so that option seems out. I could just charge the approx. $1300-1500 to a credit card, but before doing something like that, I'm wondering what other options I might have. Can I walk into my bank and talk to someone about taking out a small loan for education/student purposes? What are some ideas, options, suggestions that might help?
posted by rbf1138 to Education (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about peer-to-peer loans through Prosper?

We've been loaning money through there for a while it works well through that side. I have no experience borrowing money through them, though.
posted by chiefthe at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2010

Can I walk into my bank and talk to someone about taking out a small loan for education/student purposes?

Yes. I did just that, in order to pay for courses over the summer (~$3,000), but I went to my local credit union which offered me a much lower rate on the loan than my bank. I will have paid off the balance before my finals.
posted by halogen at 1:11 PM on May 12, 2010

A low interest credit card is going to be a much better deal than anything a bank will give you for a personal, non-secured loan. If your school's financial aid office is no help and you have decent credit - check out and find a 0% card. I just saw some that have a year and a half with no interest.
posted by Wolfie at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2010

Sorry to derail, but.. chiefthe - how has your experience been with Prosper? I've been curious to hear about any changes in the last few years (increase in defaults, late payments, etc), what with the economy and all.
posted by mbatch at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2010

I'll second Wolfie. It probably sounds incredibly irresponsible but I have been paying for grad school all along on 0% interest credit cards. If you have good credit, they're out there. My current one is through HSBC. Seriously, I feel like Suze Orman would punch me for advocating anyone go this route but my husband's mother paid for undergrad for two kids with 0% interest credit cards. Bonus - now her credit score is amazing (800-something??) and if you get one with rewards or cash back, you can earn a lot of credits immediately.

Another reason to consider a credit card over a loan - if something awful happens and you need to declare bankruptcy, credit cards are unsecured debt. They can't take your house if you have credit card debt. I don't know about personal loans but I know student loans will stay with you even if you declared bankruptcy.

If that option really doesn't suit you for whatever reason, I'd check out a credit union but first make sure your school doesn't have a payment plan you're missing out on. In undergrad, I had a monthly payment option for a nominal fee and I know the payment plan really helped my parents.
posted by kat518 at 1:30 PM on May 12, 2010

mbatch: We haven't been making back their advertised returns, due to some defaults and many people paying back early, but I believe we are slightly up. The site is very easy to use and helps you set up portfolios of loans to balance the risk/reward.

I, personally, really like the idea of peer-to-peer lending in general as you have a better idea of where your money is going, rather than just into a big pool of bank money. Feel free to mefimail me if you have any other questions.
posted by chiefthe at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2010

If your school allows you to pay with a credit card, go for it. I would have loved to get rewards for tuition with my AMEX.
posted by halogen at 2:00 PM on May 12, 2010

Why not find 15 friends/relatives to just give you the money without the expectation of repayment? I know if I had a friend who asked me for only $100 to complete a MASTERS program I would give it to them as a gift because it would be pretty cool to be able to say I helped someone get their masters.
posted by MsKim at 2:36 PM on May 12, 2010

Oops, that may not have been clear. Ask 15 people to donate $100 each to your cause and you will have $1500...
posted by MsKim at 2:43 PM on May 12, 2010

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