Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for a Tri County Area Federal Credit Union Private Student Loan?
Please review our Eligibility Criteria or call us for further details.
What’s a cosigner?
A cosigner is a creditworthy parent, grandparent, guardian, or other adult who’s willing to assume legal responsibility for the loan liabilities along with you. A cosigner must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Am I required to have a cosigner?
A cosigner will be required if you do not meet the credit and income requirements by yourself. A creditworthy cosigner increases the likelihood of loan approval and may lead to a lower rate.
Can my cosigner’s credit record be affected if I do not make timely loan payments?
Yes. We will furnish information to the credit reporting agencies on both you and the cosigner.
Is the cosigner responsible for repaying the loan?
If the borrower fails to repay the loan, then the cosigner is responsible for payment. However, we offer the benefit of cosigner release, which is subject to Tri County Area Federal Credit Union approval. In order to qualify the borrower must meet the following requirements:
- Make 24 months of consecutive, on-time full payments of principal and interest during the full repayment period (must occur immediately prior to the request for cosigner release). “On-time payment” means each payment is made no later than the 15th day after the scheduled due date of the payment. “Consecutive payment” means the regularly scheduled monthly payment must be made for 24 months straight without any interruption.
- The borrower’s account cannot be in delinquent status
- The borrower must provide proof of income indicating that he/she meets the income requirements and pass a credit review, demonstrating that he/she has a satisfactory credit history and the ability to assume full responsibility for loan repayment
- No bankruptcies or foreclosures filed in the last sixty months; and
- No loan defaults on a student loan or with Tri County Area Federal Credit Union.
How much can I borrow?
The minimum you can borrow is $2,000.00. The maximum you can borrow is the certified amount determined by your school — up to $120,000.00 for undergraduate students and $160,000.00 for graduate students. The school certified amount is typically the Cost of Attendance (COA) less any other financial aid received.
Do I need to be enrolled to apply for a loan?
Yes, you need to be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an eligible school, on at least a half-time basis.
Why isn't my school on the list?
Not all educational institutions are eligible for our program. Unfortunately, we do not offer financing if the school you’re attending isn’t on our eligibility list.
When should I begin the process?
We encourage you to start early. You can start the loan application process once you know what school you will be attending and the Cost of Attendance for the current academic year. We will verify enrollment with your school. The process can take from 2 - 4 weeks depending on the borrower, school, and time of year. Note: If you are applying for the fall term, you cannot apply before June 1st.
How do I apply for the Tri County Area Federal Credit Union Private Student Loan?
Easy! Just complete the application on our site.
Will the borrower’s credit be checked?
Yes. During the application process, we obtain a credit report on the borrower (and cosigner, if applicable). We then assess creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan.
What documentation is required during the application process?
If you’re conditionally approved, you may be asked to submit the following documents:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Enrollment
- Proof of Income
What proof of identity do I need to provide?
You’ll provide a government-issued ID (such as a driver's license) to help confirm your identity. If you're a permanent resident, we’ll need your permanent resident card (or "Green Card").
What proof of enrollment do I need to provide?
You will need to provide a transcript or other proof of enrollment. The document will need to include your name, your school's name, and your cumulative GPA. If you're a freshman, you will not be required to provide proof of GPA.
What proof of income do I need to provide?
Usually, you’ll send us copies of your two most recent pay stubs within the last 60 days. Depending on your income type, we may ask for other proof of income.
What is school certification and how can it affect my loan?
Before the loan can be finalized, your school will determine the loan disbursement date and certify the loan amount. The loan amount may be reduced to fit within the Cost of Attendance after all of your other financial aid is applied. If you have questions about the amount the school will certify for you we suggest that you follow up with your school’s financial aid office.
How can I check the status of my application?
Just sign in to your account Opens in new window. The green status bar will show your application’s progress.
How long does the application process take?
You should allow 2 - 4 weeks from the time the application is submitted until your school receives your funds, but it can take less or more time in some cases since the loan must be sent to your school for certification before the loan is finalized.
How do I receive the loan funds?
We send the funds directly to the school. The actual date of loan disbursement is determined by your school.
Can I prepay my loan?
Yes, you can prepay your loan -- either partially or in full -- at any time, without incurring any fees or penalties.
What’s the difference between a private student loan and a federal student loan?
Federal student loans follow U.S. Dept of Education guidelines, and usually offer fixed and lower interest rates compared to private student loans. However, federal loans, unlike most private loans, have borrowing limits, which may not allow a student to borrow enough to cover the entire cost of education. Private loans can help students fill the funding gap between the cost of attending school and the amount of federal loans, grants, and available scholarships a student receives. Both private and federal student loans typically allow students to defer payments while in school. Unlike federal loan programs, private lenders generally assess the credit history of the borrower and cosigner before making a loan.
How do I know if I’m eligible for federal aid?
Generally, eligibility for federal, state and university funded financial aid is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We strongly encourage all students to apply for federal aid by completing the FAFSA, which can be obtained online at www.fafsa.ed.gov Opens in new window.
How much financial aid am I eligible to receive?
The financial information you provide in the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) Opens in new window is used by the government to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount you and your family are expected to pay towards your education. The EFC is then subtracted from the Cost of Attendance (COA) for your respective school to determine the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.
What’s Expected Family Contribution?
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a calculation of how much your family is expected to contribute to your college costs. The EFC takes into consideration your family’s income and assets. Other factors considered include the number of family members and how many are in college.
What’s Cost of Attendance?
Cost of Attendance (COA) is determined by a school’s financial aid office, and includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Every school has a slightly different Cost of Attendance, but all must meet standard U.S. Department of Education guidelines.
Does applying for a federal loan impact my ability to obtain a private student loan?
No. In fact, we encourage you to explore and exhaust all federal aid options first, and then use private loans to help pay the remaining education expenses.
Privacy & Security
Will my personal information be shared with third parties?
How is my financial information protected?