Can I Use Student Loans for Summer Classes?

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Benjamin Roussey

By Benjamin Roussey

June 4, 2024

Summer college classes can help you graduate on time or early, thus minimizing student loan debt. But can you borrow student loans for summer courses?

Yes, you can use student loans for summer classes.

Before you borrow, remember that you can also qualify for scholarships for summer courses. 

Federal Student Loans

Based on your background and qualifying eligibility – including dependent status, parent’s income, and academic credentials – the federal government offers a cumulative federal student loan amount that can be availed during an academic year. This includes both summer classes and courses taken during regular semesters. This can cover your summer college courses, provided you have not already maxed out your total financial aid for the year. 

All federal student loan requests begin with the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You might have filled it when you first began college. However, this must be renewed every year, assuming you are enrolled at least half-time during the regular school year. 

If a summer course falls later, you may have to fill out next year’s FAFSA. To be sure, contact your college’s financial aid department.

Private Student Loans

If you’ve maxed your federal student loan limits, you may consider borrowing a private student loan. Remember that federal student loans are preferred over private ones since they offer many more benefits. These include the potential for student loan forgiveness, an option for payments based on your income, an option to postpone payments if you lose your job or experience an economic hardship, and the potential for subsidized loans, which often have lower interest rates.

If you borrow a private student loan, shop around to find the best lender and rates. If you decide that a private loan is right for you, Credible is a great tool to compare multiple lenders simultaneously.

Other tips for taking a summer class in college

Take a course at a less expensive college

If you have maxed out your financial aid for an academic year and are finding it challenging to secure a student loan for summer courses, consider enrolling in a less expensive school for summer, such as a community college. But of course, ensure that the credits can be transferred to your enrolled school so they contribute to your degree. 

Students often attend a community college to minimize their student loans, as they complete basic courses through evening summer programs at the closest community college.

Consider a paid internship

If you are ready to put in the work, talk to your student advisor about the possibility of any work-study programs (if you qualify) or paid internships available during the summer, especially if they earn credits that contribute to your degree. These may be on campus or with external companies collaborating with your school. This is a great way to prepare for life after college, as you learn to earn your way through a degree during summer.

A good place to start:

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