Obtaining student loans for a second bachelor's degree can be a difficult task, as the funds from the government were designed to put students on the track to success, but funds are still available. Learning the federal restrictions and how to obtain private loans is essential to financing a second bachelor's degree.
Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) online. This is the first step in acquiring government loans for education. It is mandated because it judges your eligibility for certain programs based on your (and/or your parents) income and other demographic factors. The federal loans that you may qualify for when seeking a second bachelor's degree are Stafford loans, Perkins loans, and Pell grants.
Pull a copy of your credit report (see Resources). On your report, look for any potentially negative information. This could include judgements, charge-offs, delinquencies, bankruptcies and excessive inquiries (over 10 in the last year). This information drops your score and may affect your ability to get approved for student loans. Attempt to clear up any negative information before formally applying for any federal or private aid.
Determine your eligibility. The FAFSA will generate your expected contribution, this is a number they assign to you based on your ability to pay for higher education. However, as you are seeking a second bachelor's, you'll need to meet additional qualifications. If you used federal funds for your first bachelor's degree, you must take these into account before figuring your loan amounts. For example, the lifetime cap on Stafford loans is $57,500 ($31,000 if you are still claimed by parents or guardians).
Apply for private loans as a last resort. Companies that offer private student loans include large banks like CitiBank and HSBC. This should be considered a last resort as these loans will often carry higher interest rates and the repayment terms may not be as favorable as federal loans. Sometimes these companies offer limited grace periods (a period after graduation where a student has time to look for a job before making payments).
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.