Criminal Justice Student Loans — The Ultimate Guide
If you are interested in a criminal justice career, you may find more opportunities than most students for loans to help pay your college bills. Thanks to increased needs for security personnel at the local, state, regional and federal levels, many loan opportunities may be available for criminal justice graduate and undergraduate students.The best way to find school loans for that undergraduate criminal justice program is through the government’s FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application. Through the FAFSA, you can apply for Stafford and Perkins loans. Investigate these possibilities before you apply for a standard bank loan, as the interest rates on government loans are much lower.
The Federal Direct Loan Program and lender participants in the FFELP (Federal Family Education Loan Program) both feature Stafford Loans. Almost every student qualifies for Stafford Loans, so if you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you’re leaving money on the table. Perkins loans are available for those students with “exceptional” financial needs. Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so apply with that FAFSA early.
If you are a graduate criminal justice major, you can apply for PLUS loans. The Direct Loan Program and FFELP lenders all offer the Grad PLUS Loans. These are credit-based loans, so if you have bad credit, you may need a co-signer.
If you must apply for private student loans, first subtract any scholarships, grants, federal loans and personal savings from your college bill. Then, decide how much you really need to borrow from the bank. These loans carry high credit limits, but they also carry variable – not fixed – interest rates with the potential to cause financial trouble down the road.
Finally, think about obtaining your first two years’ worth of college credits at a community college. Many lenders have developed loan programs designed specifically for community colleges or for paying short-term continuing education or career training programs.