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Paying for College

Read these college loan FAQs before borrowing

If you’re planning to use a private loan for college costs, make sure you understand the basics of borrowing first. We’ve compiled some FAQs that provide important information on how much to borrow, the logistics of the process, and the loan options available to you. Review each question and answer for all the details.

  1. Should we apply for a loan for one year or four?
    While we encourage families to make a payment strategy to cover four years of college costs, you may only apply for a loan to cover one academic year. Colleges will divide your loan amount between the fall and spring semesters. And you’ll need to submit a loan application every year you need a loan.

  2. How much should I borrow? And is there a cap?
    First, use MEFA’s My College Cost Calculator to determine the amount your family will owe for college costs, taking into account your financial aid and college savings. Then consider how much of your current income can be allocated toward the college bill, which can be paid through a college payment plan or billing process. You’ll then have a good estimate of what you’ll need to borrow in a loan. Remember to consider indirect/non-billed costs, such as books and travel expenses. You are eligible to borrow up to the college’s total Cost of Attendance minus any financial aid received, though you should only borrow exactly what you need

  3. How will our loan money be transferred into the student’s account?
    When you apply for a loan, you’ll indicate where your child will be attending college. Your loan lender will contact the college and confirm the student’s intended enrollment and also confirm that the student is eligible for the full loan amount requested. After receiving the college’s confirmation, the lender will send the loan funds to the student’s college account, to be applied directly toward the billed charges.

  4. Are there loans for parents that don’t accrue interest until after graduation?
    All private loans on which the parent is the borrower or co-borrower will accrue interest while the student is in school. However many loans don’t require repayment on that interest or the principal amount borrowed until after the student graduates.

  5. What are the different types of MEFA loans?
    MEFA offers low-cost, fixed interest rate loans with immediate, interest-only, and deferred repayment options. You can find full details about MEFA loans on our website here.


If you have additional questions about borrowing a loan to pay for college, we’re here to provide you guidance and answers. Contact us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332) or info@mefa.org.





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