Taking summer classes in college 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, keep in mind that you can qualify for scholarships for summer courses, too. 

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 be used to 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 needs to be renewed every year, assuming you are enrolled at least half-time, during the regular school year. 

If a summer course falls later in the summer, 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. Keep in mind that federal student loans are preferred over private student loans since they offer many more benefits. These include 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, potential for subsidized loans, and often have lower interest rates.

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

Here are some 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. 

In fact, 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 even with external companies that collaborate with your school. In fact, this is a great way to prepare for life after college, as you learn to earn your way through a degree during summer.

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