Student Loans: All Your Questions Answered
02 Sep 2020
At the credit union, we know college should be about learning, growing, and inching toward that dream career - not worrying about the burden of education costs.
That’s why a credit union student loan is one of the cheapest student loans in the country. It’s why most credit unions also offer support in the form of bursaries or scholarships for their members. Many credit unions may also call student loans education loans.
If you’re thinking of getting a student loan but don’t know where to start, our most commonly asked student loan questions will tell you everything you need to know.
You can also get in touch with your local credit union here – they’d be more than happy to help.
1. How do student loans work?
Many credit unions offer loans to members going to college, for full and part-time courses. They offer student loans for a variety of different reasons: as a bridge before students receive grants, for college equipment, for college fees and rent.
The great thing about student loans is many are low cost, have no hidden fees or charges and you can pay back the loan in a way that suits you.
Students can apply once they are 18, and sometimes will need to a parent or guardian to act as a guarantor for their loan.
2. How do I get a student loan in Ireland?
Getting a student loan in Ireland should be straightforward, low cost and flexible. That’s why the best student loan is a credit union student loan – read more on why, here.
To get a credit union student loan, you will first need to be a member of your local credit union, be 18 years old, provide proof of your course and sometimes you may need a parent or guardian to act as a guarantor for your loan.
You can read our blog here with step-by-step details on how to get credit union student loan. If you contact your local credit union they can also guide you through the process.
3. Do you need a guarantor for a student loan?
A guarantor is generally your parent or guardian (although it can be someone else). Your guarantor undertakes to repay the loan in the event that you, for whatever reason, are unable to repay. Once the credit union assesses your application and looks at your income, then they will decide whether you need a guarantor.
For a person is to act as a guarantor, they must themselves demonstrate ability to repay the loan. Guarantors will be required to complete an application form where they will need to disclose their financial information and agree to a credit check being carried out.
4. Can you get a student loan without a job?
For any loan, ability to repay is the key consideration in deciding whether or not a loan is approved. As an undergraduate student, we understand that you might not have a regular income, and so a credit union might require a guarantor for the student loan. As mentioned above, a guarantor is generally your parent or guardian (although it can be someone else). Your guarantor undertakes to repay the loan in the event that you, for whatever reason, are unable to repay.
5. How much can I get for a student loan?
It does depend on your credit union, but many will allow you to borrow as little as €500 up to €30,000 or €75,000 and everywhere in between. If you have a certain amount in mind, why not submit a loan enquiry.
6. How long does it take to get a student loan?
95%* of all credit unions loans are approved. (We like saying yes) Almost 80%** of standard loans are approved within 24 hours with just 8%** of loans taking longer than two days.
*ILCU Marketing and Lending Survey 2019, based on a typical unsecured €/ £3,000 loan application from receipt of application.
7. How much is a student loan?
Credit unions offer some of the very lowest student loan interest rates. For education loans, 76% of ROI CUs offered a dedicated rate for this category of loan. Of those with a dedicated rate, the average rate was 6.64% APR. Overall, the average rate charged for a loan to fund education costs was 7.63%.*
So, let’s take a look at some of the low student loan interest rates that credit unions are offering.
Public Service Credit Union Ltd. has a standard loan rate of 8.35% but offers a 4.9% (5% APR) student loan interest rate. This means that a €1,000 student loan over one year with weekly repayments will see just €27 paid in interest. Now that’s a seriously low student loan interest rate!
Athenry Credit Union Ltd in Galway has a standard rate of 8.3%, but offers student loans at just 5.4% (5.54% APR). A €1,000 loan repaid over 12 months will see the student paying just €29 in interest over the course of the loan.
Rathmore and District Credit Union Ltd in Kerry has a 9% standard loan rate, but offers a 6% (6.18% APR) interest rate on student loans. Again, a €1,000 loan with 12 monthly repayments will have an interest rate payment of €33.
*Credit Union Websites, July 2020.
8. How many years do you have to pay off a student loan?
Depending on the credit union, they might offer different loan terms – the maximum amount of time a student has to pay back the loan. A credit union may also stipulate a loan term time based on the loan amount and what the loan will be used for.
Many credit unions offer a loan term of up to 5 years, although it’s worth checking with your local credit union to see what term they stipulate.
9. Do credit unions offer student loans for masters, further education or postgrad courses?
Many credit unions offer education or student loans to members who have different educational needs. You might not have to be going to university in order to apply for a student loan. Although it does depend, many credit unions will offer you a loan for postgraduate, masters, further education and other educational courses like diplomas.
10. What is a credit union student bursary or scholarship?
Many credit unions, as well as offering low cost student loans, choose to further support struggling students by offering funds in the form of educational bursaries or grants. The amounts and types of sponsorships differ in each credit union, but all stand for one purpose – supporting students in achieving their academic goals. If you are a member of your local credit union, why not enquire today about what bursary or scholarship they might offer?
11. What age do you have to be to get student loan?
You must be 18 years of age to get a credit union student loan.
Submit an Online Loan Enquiry
If you're thinking of getting a student loan, why not submit an online loan enquiry today?