Education Financing

Taking longer to graduate could affect your undergraduate student loans

When you first enter college, your academic advisor will lay out the ways in which you can graduate in the standard four-year period. Since you'll need to earn at least 120 credit hours to graduate at most institutions, you'll want to sign up for at least 15 hours of credits each semester.

At the same time, you should know that it's quite common not to complete one's college education in the standard four-year timeframe. This happens for a number of reasons ranging from coordinating with a part- or full-time job, illness, or possibly failing some courses.

According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, only about one-third of students who began college in 2001 had completed their degree within four years. Another 20% completed their degree within six years of starting their college careers.

If it takes longer than four years will I run out of financing?

Sometimes it's just not possible to catch up, meaning extended time in school. If this is the case for you, be aware that lengthening the time you take to complete your undergraduate studies could have an effect on your undergraduate student loans. Even if you only have one more class remaining, to qualify for education financing, you will have to continue to be enrolled at least half-time, which generally equates to six hours a week.

The good news is, under Federal Stafford Loan rules, you can continue to borrow until you've reached the maximum allowed each year and the aggregate limit overall.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most private loans have an aggregate limit as well (which often includes your total federal and private loan debt). These aggregates vary by lender so make sure you are aware of how much you can borrow in total.

Continue to finance your education with help from Citizens Bank

Whether it takes you four years or longer to graduate, consider Citizens Bank for your private student loan needs. Learn about our Citizens Bank Student Loan™. If you have questions, call a student loan specialist at 1-800-708-6684, and we'll help walk you through the process.

Additional student loan and college planning resources

Understanding In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
Financing After Transferring Schools
Repeat Borrowing Checklist
How Does Course Load Affect Financing?
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