getting a student loan for a part-time class
July 3, 2010 7:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm going back to school part-time for a second masters part-time (one class at a time). I'm an in-state resident, but it won't trigger for a semester, so I need to pay out of pocket for the first class. The cost is a bit much to pay out of pocket ($3000). What is the best way to finance this?

I've taken out student loans before, but it has been for full-time study and the mix of the most avantageous federal and private loans has been obvious. Most student loans (and all federal) generally requrie taht you be taking at least 6 credit hours (I'd be taking 3) - where should I look around for the best (private) financing?
posted by waylaid to Education (8 answers total)
In what time frame are you planning to pay it off? If you have decent credit an can pay it off within about 6 months, I'd just get a low or no-interest credit card offer and charge it. If it's going to take you much more than 6 months to pay it off, I'd say that you can't really afford it and that you should wait until next semester.
posted by decathecting at 8:06 AM on July 3, 2010

Best answer: Please be certain that you're not jeopardizing your in-state tuition status in future semesters by taking a class now. In some states, taking a class "proves" your purpose in relocating there was to attend school.
posted by carmicha at 8:17 AM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had private financing through Citibank's student loans and can vouch that they're not terrible - Interest rates are high, yes, but are still lower than what you'd typically get on a credit card. I'm unsure, however, whether or not they will cover students taking only one class / 3 credit hours. Unless you're worried about having your credit score dinged by having multiple "hard pulls" at this point, I'd recommend simply applying for Citibank's student loan and see if you get approved.
posted by lizzicide at 8:26 AM on July 3, 2010

I'm a full-time grad student, and I remember one time talking to my department's grad secretary about a weird situation I had where there was going to be a couple weeks between when my Fall funding ended and my Spring funding started up. She told me that the department had some money set aside for these types of situations, and that I could borrow money from the department and pay it back once my new funding started up if needed. I don't know how this would work with a part-time student, and I don't know if this is something that all departments at all schools would have the luxury of doing, but it might be worth asking someone in your department if anything like this is available.
posted by rebel_rebel at 9:48 AM on July 3, 2010

Get in touch with your local credit union. CUs tend to offer significantly lower interest rates on loans (mine offered me a personal loan with a much lower interest than the student loan offered by Big Bank). Then again, if you can't afford $3,000 it might be a good idea to put it off until you can.

carmicha is right that there is a very good chance that you are forfeiting your future resident status by enrolling now.
posted by halogen at 11:24 AM on July 3, 2010

Response by poster: Well, see - here's the thing. It's the University of Maryland, I bought a house in Maryland in April 2010 (formally lived in DC) before I was admitted to the program. Maryland requires a year's worth of residency before letting you change your status to in-state. I can't imagine that they would classify a move to Maryland before I was admitted as a reason to deny financial aid permenantly. Buying a home in Maryland would not be a cheap way to gain in-state residency status!

Maryland Residency Policy
posted by waylaid at 7:43 PM on July 3, 2010

waylaid: correct me if I'm wrong, but if you lived in DC and then bought a house in Maryland before you were accepted to the school, then you still lived in a different state when you were accepted, right?

this is straight from your link:
"Either of the following circumstances raises a presumption that the student is residing in the State of Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending an educational institution and therefore, does not qualify for in-state status under this policy:

1. A student is attending school or living outside Maryland at the time of application for admission to a USM institution"

This is something that you need to talk to the financial aid office at UM. I'm not sure why you think that buying a house would matter as to your in-state's spelled out pretty clearly in the link you provided.
posted by kro at 10:28 PM on July 3, 2010

Response by poster: kro, yes, you are right.

Raises a presumption, though. The idea that I would buy a house with the intention of gaining in-state status at UMD for a part-time masters degree one class at a time (when I have been living in the DC metro area for several years at the same job, but renting) is sorta ridiculous. If I wanted in-state status at UMD, wouldn't I just move and rent a place in Maryland? The move to Maryland was prompted by the fact that it was a good house in a neighborhood that I liked.

"9. Has rebutted the presumption that he or she is in Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution, if the student's circumstances have raised the presumption."

Actually, I looked through the reclassification page, and it appears that I won't have a problem after the first semester(s) once I've had 12 months as a permenant resident in Maryland.
posted by waylaid at 8:42 PM on July 4, 2010

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