Transfer Your Student Loans
Remember when you wondered what happens to your student loans if you transfer? Well, if you took out student loans, you need to give your loan provider a call to transfer them to the new school. Loans do not automatically transfer with you. This is especially important if you’re switching colleges mid-year.
Get the exact total of your loan and a breakdown of the process to keep together with all the other essential information. You’ll also likely have to fill out an in-school deferment form unless you opt for an income-driven repayment plan to squash as much of that accruing interest as possible.
Understand How Your Student Loans Really Work
We often think of federal student loans as being paused until the four years of school are up, but that’s not the case. Every year you reapply, the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans enter a state of “repayment.”
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a particular form of “repayment” called in-school deferment, where you don’t have to pay monthly at this point, but your balance does accrue interest. That interest accrues throughout the entire time you’re completing your undergraduate degree. Remember, this is a tidbit, even if you decide not to transfer.
There are two routes you can take to deal with this. You can take the in-school deferment if applicable—typically, Federal direct loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Perkins Loans, and PLUS loans are eligible. Regardless, you’ll want to call and confirm you’re eligible, which usually requires enrolling at least half-time as a regular student while maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
With this route, though, interest will accrue on certain types of loans (such as unsubsidized loans), and it can be shocking to learn how much it can add up. It can be especially jarring if the interest charges capitalize (which happens after four years of in-school deferment), which means that the interest is absorbed into the principal.
There is another option, however. You can try to utilize an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Spreading your payments over 20 or 25 years, IDR plans only charge you a certain percentage of your discretionary income. If you’re making $100 a month and the repayment plan caps at 10% of your income, your monthly loan payment would be $10.
We recommend that you choose your repayment option carefully. Both options have their upsides and downsides (interest accruing vs. paying now), so talk to your parents or financial advisor to figure out what’s right for you.
As always, the general-best-advice-available is to take out as little as possible in student loans. And accept all forms of federal loans first, which will typically have lower interest rates and easier-to-fulfill repayment plans.
Seek Out Transfer Student Scholarships
Now that you’ve addressed the process of transferring your existing student aid and loans, it’s time to look for new scholarship opportunities. We recommend talking with your advisor to ask about scholarships and then searching for some on your own.
You can access a complete list of scholarships on the Appily website. Filter your search by your current class - college freshmen, sophomore, or junior - to get a glimpse of the scholarships you can apply to from Appily.
You might be surprised by the number of scholarships specifically available for transfer students. Here are just a few of the many options out there.
Take on a Part-Time Job or Work Study Opportunity
Finally, if you end up with a financial aid gap, consider taking on a part-time job during the academic term or summer break. Federal Work-Study jobs are usually an excellent option. They can include opportunities like working with a professor on a research project, supporting your school’s IT department, working in the library, and so much more.
If you’re interested, check the box on the FAFSA to indicate that. Doing so won't commit you to work during the school year, but it may give you the option if it’s available.
Off-campus jobs are another route to go. Many jobs convenient to campus may pay better than a work-study job. This may be a good option for working during the summer since some jobs may not be able to schedule around your classes.
Final Thoughts on Paying for School as a Transfer Student
However, all this advice is primarily centered around you having found the right school to transfer to and financial aid money to help you pay for it. Good thing you’re here with Appily.
Appily helps transfer students discover colleges that match what’s most important —from budget to majors to style. Our college match tool is essential since you’ve already been through the college search process once and are not happy with your current institution. You can also access scholarships, calculate your chance of being accepted, and much more with Appily.
Click the link below to get started and apply for our $1,000 transfer student scholarship. No essay or minimum GPA required.