A third of all college students switch schools before they graduate, a study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says. One of the most serious questions you may when transferring is whether you can transfer student loans to your new school or have to start the loan process all over again.
The financial aid package you received was based on the qualifications and costs of the school you're currently attending. Student loans are typically made to fill the gap between the financial support you're expected to receive and the cost of attending a particular school. The picture changes according to the cost of your new school, which means you'll need a different financial aid package to reflect the change.
The school you transfer from will alert your loan providers, or loan servicer in the case of federal loans, that you're no longer enrolled. That triggers the repayment provisions in the loan contracts. You might have to begin repayments right away for direct unsubsidized loans or after the six-month grace period for direct subsidized loans, if you do not let them know you're at another school.
Contact each loan servicer and lender and tell them you're transferring to another school and still meet the minimum enrollment requirements. That usually means you're attending the new school at least part-time and that it's an accredited institution. This lets you put off repaying the outstanding loans from your previous school. The information you need can be accessed through the National Student Loan Data System. You'll need your Federal Student Aid PIN number to log in.
The financial aid office at your new school will put together an aid plan based on its costs and requirements. A transfer student normally has to fill out a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid to develop a new package. Remember that the lenders and loan servicers may change under the new package and may be unaware of your commitments to other loan providers.
- Citizens Financial Group: Transfer Students: Loan Process
- National Student Clearinghouse: Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions
- American Student Assistance: 3 Student Loan Tips for Transfer Students
- Federal Student Aid: An Office of the U.S. Department of Education: Loan Servicers
Griffith Pritchard served as a senior branch manager and banking officer for M&T Bank. He specialized in small business and personal financial, credit and banking products. He also has extensive experience in small business sales and non-profit management. Pritchard is a graduate of Hobart College.