How to Get Small Loans for Students

How to Get Small Loans for Students

While tuition is the biggest school-related expense, other related costs of your education can cost you just as much or more while you’re in school. Students must cover books, a laptop, and more. These costs pile up quickly, and many students don’t properly budget for them.

A small loan is a simple way that you can cover these school-related costs, without the high interest rates of student loans. Read this article for a guide on covering the little costs of school.

How Much Does College Cost

In the 2017-2018 school year, the average cost of tuition was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 in-state tuition for public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state tuition at public colleges.

A student’s housing cost will depend on whether they live on campus or off campus. The cost of off-campus housing can vary greatly, ranging from $6,000 to $10,000 a semester. Housing on-campus at public schools costs an average of $8,887, while private school attendees pay an average of $10,089.

The cost of tuition and housing, then, can run between $20,000 and $50,000 per year.

However, tuition and housing are often covered by school financial aid, scholarships, and grants. It is the other related costs of education that students often fail to account and plan for.

It’s the Little Costs that Add Up

Scholarships, financial aid, and grants generally do not cover expenses outside of tuition and housing. So, for students in financial need, these costs can be the biggest concern. See the following list for a summary of the biggest peripheral costs of going to college.

Books and Supplies

Books and course materials for classes are an important and necessary school-related cost. The average full-time student at a public college pays $1,298 per year for books and supplies. While this cost can vary if the student rents or purchases used, many students also must buy a laptop, which can easily cost $1,000-$2,000.


Costs of transportation also must be accounted for, though this expense can vary widely as well. The cost of transportation typically runs $1,000-$2,000 per year, depending on whether or not the student owns a car. Students with cars will likely incur much greater expenses.

Personal Expenses

Students also need funds to cover a whole host of personal costs. These include laundry, cell phone bills, food and eating out, going to the movies, and other such recreational expenses. While these costs can be minimized to some extent, they will often still come to $500-$1000 per month.

Are There Small Loans for Students?

Yes, students can take out personal loans for small amounts to cover the peripheral expenses of college. American students with citizenship have a range of loan options to choose from. Even students with a poor credit score will likely qualify for a loan with higher interest rates, or with a cosigner.

International students who are noncitizens, however, may have a much more difficult time obtaining loans.

Why International Students Struggle to Get Loans in the U.S.

International students are treated differently than American citizens by lenders for multiple reasons.

First, international students don’t have a credit history. This means that lenders lack an important criteria by which to judge eligibility and financial status. International students are also typically on a visa, which will eventually expire or change. This scares away lenders, who fear that they won’t be able to recoup their loan if the borrower leaves the country.

How Stilt Can Help

Stilt is an online lender seeking to remedy the discrimination that immigrants and noncitizens face in the American credit system. Rather than focusing entirely on factors like credit score and length of residence in the country, Stilt focuses on factors like education, employment, and skill set.

Personal Loans
 for Students!

Check Loan Options

Loans for up to $25,000. No cosigner required. No prepayment penalty.

3 Simple Steps to Borrow with Stilt

With Stilt, you can get the funds that you need in just a couple of days. See the following steps for a look at how Stilt loans to students.

  • Complete an application: first, you provide basic information on your financial and personal history and authorize a soft credit-pull. You can complete the entire application in two minutes.
  • Receive a decision: Stilt will determine if you are eligible for a loan and respond with a decision within 24 hours. If you are accepted, you will see the loan amounts you qualify for, along with options for repayment schedules and an interest rate.
  • Receive the funds: After you have received a quote, you only have to sign a promissory note agreeing to the loan terms that you choose. Then, the funds will be deposited in your account. Once you have received the funds, you start making monthly payments.

5 Tips to Save Money While in School

Taking out a personal loan to cover small school-related costs shouldn’t stop you from budgeting responsibly.  By keeping costs down, you can take out a smaller loan. There are various strategies that you can employ that will reduce cost, and we’ve listed some helpful ones below.

1. Buy Textbooks Used

Students pay huge premiums for brand new textbooks. Older editions of textbooks, or used books of the newer edition, can be found at heavily discounted prices. In buying your textbooks used, you don’t sacrifice much in terms of quality and can generate big savings.

Also, consider renting your textbooks, which can also easily save you more than 50% off the retail price of a new textbook.

2. Save Money On Your Laptop

Retailers and computer manufacturers often offer discounts to students. Campus bookstores may also have sales for new students. Since a laptop is one of the biggest school-related expenses, you should try to find savings however possible. Keep an eye out for sales in magazines or online, and, if you are about to shop with a retailer, inquire about potential sales or discounts for students.

3. Don’t Have a Car

Owning a car incurs huge costs. Gas, parking, maintenance, and insurance will run into the thousands of dollars each year. Forgo a car and you will not have to deal with any of the interrelated costs.

4. Buy in Bulk

Food is sold substantially cheaper if you purchase it in bulk. So, if you have the storage space or room in your fridge/freezer, start buying everything in bulk. You can get a Sam’s Club membership, or simply purchase items online in multipacks.

5. Use On-Campus Resources

Your tuition pays for a host of services and resources on campus that you should take advantage of. Campuses typically offer free movies, fitness classes, study groups, sports, and other activities. Before spending money on an outing, see what your school has to offer.


It is easy to overlook the peripheral costs of your education, and many get caught off guard when they start piling up. There is nothing worse than having your tuition and housing covered, only to find yourself unable to cover the basic costs of living. A lender like Stilt can help immigrants and noncitizens through these patches and provide the funds that they need to get their degree.

Personal Loans
 for Students!

Check Loan Options

Loans for up to $25,000. No cosigner required. No prepayment penalty.
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