Can You Go Back to College if You Owe on Your Student Loan?


A college degree is a necessity in today’s world. Gaining a college degree helps your mind to expand. You will learn about new things, have different experiences and take part in thoughts you may have never expected. Not only that, most jobs require a college degree of some sort before you will even be considered.

Going Back to School With a Student Loan

If you are wondering if you can return to college even when you owe on your student loan, the answer is usually yes. Colleges and universities rarely check to see if you have outstanding debts when judging acceptance. They are more likely to look at criteria like grades, test scores, entrance exams and transfer credits.

The answer to the question gets a bit more murky if you are applying for financial aid. If you have an existing student loan that is up-to-date with payments, you should be able to return to school. It may be more difficult to afford a college education when you have existing loans, but there are no laws or rules in place that will keep you from continuing your studies regardless of the amount you owe. The amount of student aid you qualify for will still be based on your income and net worth, though your existing debt will certainly be taken into consideration. If you choose to go this route, it is important that you only borrow an amount you know you can repay.

Conversely, if you have defaulted on your student loans, returning to school will be a problem. Before you can qualify for any type of financial aid, you will need to work with your lender to set up a payment plan. This might involve consolidating your debt so that your defaulted payments are included with future bills. You might rehabilitate your loans, which basically means lowering your monthly payment so that you can afford to meet the new agreement. Rehabilitating payments is more difficult because you do have to prove that you are in need. These plans usually have a time limit for repaying the debt, often about six months to one year.

You can return to college before you have completed paying off your defaulted loans as long as you pay tuition out of pocket. You are unlikely to receive any type of grant, loan or even scholarship while your existing loan is in default.

How to College to School Without a Loan

You know you want to return to school, but you simply don’t have the means to do so. There are a few options that may work to get you through your classes, though they can be somewhat limited.

Some colleges and universities offer tuition assistance for employees. You can try to gain employment at a school that will eventually offer this benefit to you. You should also check with the human resources department at your existing place of employment. Some companies offer tuition assistance for employees who follow a particular course of study.

Another option is to return to school on a part-time basis, paying as you go. Though this may take a very long time, you will not have debt once you have completed your courses. This is a good option if you are working to repay a defaulted loan before you may apply again.