|By David Pilley on October 20, 2011
Sooner or later, you will run into an emergency. You may have a health issue that requires surgery or an extended period of time in the hospital. You may suddenly lose a job that had been your main source of income. You may even lose the home or apartment you’ve been living in. What happens if something like this occurs while you’re in college? Will you have to give up your studies? Well, if your school has an emergency student loan program, you won’t have to.
Most colleges and universities have emergency funds for students who come across these unexpected circumstances during the semester. A loan can be taken out at any time while school is in session, but schools typically limit each student to just one during a semester. The amount of money you can get will depend on the school, and the maximum will usually be around $1,000. In most situations, you will be required to have a certain grade point average, and you will need to be a full-time student. It’s also important for you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), something that most colleges require you to do before the beginning of each school year. You may also need to provide copies of bills, if the money is needed to cover something like an emergency hospital visit.
Some schools may even have funds for emergency textbook loans. Again, emergency loans do not offer as much money as typical student loans; however, they will be processed quickly, and you may get the emergency funds just a couple days after filling out the application.
Consider yourself very lucky if you are able to get emergency grants or scholarships, money that will not require repayment. Grant and scholarship money is limited, and you will most likely get loan money. Repayment depends on the school, but the majority of schools expect the money to be paid back between 30 and 60 days. While there may be a fee for borrowing the money, in the majority of cases, there is no interest involved! However, there will be consequences if you can’t pay the money back in time, such as a hold being placed on your account (rendering you unable to sign up for next semester’s classes until the money is paid back), or being unable to qualify for future emergency funds.
You don’t have to quit classes if you have an emergency. If you need help, schedule a meeting with someone in the school’s financial aid office and demonstrate your need. An emergency student loan would be a much better option than another type of loan because of the minimal or inexistent interest rate, and you can also continue your career studies for your future.