Qualifying for student loans has become much more difficult. This is because so many students default on their loans. Many banks and private companies will ask students for more than just proof of income. They will also ask for a recommendation letter. If a student comes to you with this request, you need to know how to write the letter in a way that will help the student get the loan.
Set up a meeting with the student and his parents. Have some coffee and chat for about an hour. Talk about the student's goals and why he thinks he will be able to achieve those goals. Talk about previous jobs and after-school activities. Find out his favorite subject. Take notes during this meeting so you can refer back to them when you are ready to write the report.
Gather information about the lending institution. The recommendation letter will be sent in along with the student's application, but you still need to know who to properly address the letter to.
Turn on your computer and open a word processing program. Fill out the heading. Make sure you include the date, your name, your position (teacher, employer, etc.) and your address. Be sure to address the letter to the correct person.
Use the opening paragraph to let the institution know that you are writing to recommend XXX for a student loan. Talk about your relationship with XXX and how long you have known her. Mention how you met and what you found special about her that sets her apart from other students.
Briefly state why you are qualified to make a recommendation. For example, perhaps you have taught English to high school students for 20 years and have an ability to recognize talent.
Discuss the student's achievements and skills. Discuss past successes that show he will excel in college.
Write about the student's personal character (i.e., dedication, organization, determination, self-motivator, team player). List examples that tell how the student has demonstrated these characteristics.
End the letter by stating how the student plans to pay off the student loan and whether or not you feel he is responsible enough not to default on the loan. It may be helpful for the student to create a repayment plan, so you can mention that he already has a plan in to place to repay the loan.
Save the recommendation letter, double-check for errors and print out two copies. Keep one copy for your records and give the second copy to the student.
It is proper etiquette to have the recommendation letter completed within three weeks of receiving it.
Don't agree to write a letter of recommendation if you honestly feel the student is not responsible enough to pay the loan back. That would be a bad reflection on you.