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Emergency loans for college students.

Hundreds of colleges operate emergency loan programs to help students at their school. The money is available to pay for a wide range of living expenses that the student may be faced with, ranging from their rent to textbooks, school supplies, and other critical bills. Many of the loans available have very low interest rates, or they may even be interest free.

The assistance is available from both universities of all sizes. Smaller colleges, such as Howard University offer loan programs. But many of the nation's largest school's also provide this form of financing to assist students, such as the University of Texas and many others. One key objective is to keep students away from pricier forms of borrowing, namely payday lenders or relying on a credit card to pay their bills. More examples of the universities are below, however it is always a good idea to call a financial aid office to make an inquiry.

Terms and conditions set by colleges

Since there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of schools that provide short term, emergency loans, the criteria vary widely. Some of the general conditions set by a college may be as follows. Also, the student will always need to be enrolled into a minimum of classes or credit hours to apply.

Amount to borrow – There will usually be a minimum as well as maximum dollar amount issued. It can range from $50 to up to $2000. Many colleges will set dollar limits based on whether there is a co-signor or if the student has a job or not. There was also usually be a general fund created by the university each year, and once the money has been exhausted no further loans will be issued for that particular academic year.

Processing time frame – The goal is to get the cash to the borrower in as little time as possible. Provided the college approved the application on the first go around, money may be issued in as little as 3 business days. Colleges want the student to get the cash in as short a time-frame as possible, as this will therefore help the crisis be resolved.

Loan repayment terms – Any type of funds issued are for a short term emergencies. The money will need to generally be repaid in 30 to 90 days. There will be a coupon book given out, or the payments can be made using an online system.




The terms will be set in the promissory note that is signed by the borrower. Students can usually make payments using cashier’s check, cash, electronic payment systems such as PayPal, money orders, or dozens of other methods. The goal is to provide as many options as possible to make payments on the short term loan.

Uses of funds – The loans can cover many different expenses, other than tuition. Universities will usually allow money to go to housing costs, such as rent or utility bills. Often times a student needs short term cash to buy a textbook or to pay for a lab work while they are waiting on a paycheck from a job, and money can be used for that. Other uses of an emergency loan may be for car repairs, a medical bill, and much more.

Budgeting and counseling – Any loan issued by a university will usually come with mandatory counseling. Colleges will have staff on site to meet with the student to stress the important of budgeting. They will also review various alternatives to payday loans, stress employment, the dangers of credit cards, and other financial matters.

Collection policies for these temporary loans – The money does need to be repaid within guidelines. Any student borrower needs to understand this. They do not get a break because of their age, income or the fact they are going to college. If payments are not made, then there may be a denial of future financial aid and the delinquent loan may also be given to a collection agency for pursuit.

Universities that offer emergency loans

A large percentage of colleges have these types of programs. Students should always make an inquiry. Some of the schools include the list below.

  • Webster University – Up to $300 may be issued. Apply at the Student Affairs office.
  • Angelo State University will issue money to students with a history of employment.
  • Humboldt State
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Oregon has an emergency loan program. The money is interest free and needs to be repair with 90 days.
  • University of Texas at Austin – Up to $500 is available as an Institutional Loan.
  • Associated Students of the University of California has interest free loans after an origination fee is paid.
  • University of South Carolina provides money for any bills related to living on campus or academic issues.
  • University of California, Berkeley – Graduate and undergraduate students can apply at the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.
  • Howard University
  • University of Georgia – They can provide short term loans for one semester only.
  • Texas State University
  • University of Denver
  • The University of Texas at Brownsville – Students can borrow money for up to 30 days.
  • Saint Louis University Graduate School provides assistance to people returning to school.
  • Texas Woman's University





  • University of Michigan – Most campuses operate an emergency loan program.
  • Emory University
  • Laney Graduate School – Provides emergency loans to help students impacted by an illness, death in the family, delay in federal student aid payments, and other reasons.
  • West Texas A&M University – Interest rates are low and fees are minimal.
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • East Tennessee State University – Up to $500 may be used for books or unexpected expenses, such as a car repair.
  • University of Minnesota – Assistance is available from the SELFund, also called the Student Emergency Loan Fund.
  • University of Connecticut – Campuses in the system provide help as part of the GSS (Graduate Student Senate) Short-term Emergency Loan program. Up to $1500 is issued.
  • University of South Florida – The  Financial Aid Office can help students pay the bills while they are waiting on federal aid.
  • Western Carolina University – Up to $100 is loaned out from the OneStop center as well as Student Accounts Office.
  • University of Texas–Pan American – The program available to students of this college is the Emergency Tuition and Fee loan.
  • Arizona State University
  • The Evergreen State College – Applicants with short term cash flow problems can apply for help. Loans can cover housing costs, back rent, and books too.
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Ball State University – Call on the Student Rights and Community Standards office. Loans are available using donated funds.
  • Oregon State University – Anyone going to school on a part time basis can get financial help. The student needs to be considered “half-time” to apply.


By Jon McNamara

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