Before you look at borrowing money in the shape of a student loan, have a look at what is available in the shape of savings or other non-loan areas first.
Is the establishment where you are going to learn accredited? Are you going to be studying part time or full time? Are you going to be studying for a scholarship?
How much will you need for each semester? Make a list of how much you will need for books and equipment, how much you need for food and clothing, are you living on campus or commuting to and from campus? You must take all these into account before you can complete the process.
Once you have received your letter of acceptance from the establishment that you are going to be taught in, you should plan to pay a visit to their financial aid office. You should do this before you even consider a student loan or grant.
If this is not an option, then you must fill in a financial application for student aid (FAFSA) form as soon as you have received your acceptance. You should be able to get help in filling this form out from most of the financial aid offices around, and they will also post it to the right address for you.
Whilst you are waiting for the results of this to come back, you could then look into the possibility of a loan or grant. Some of the financial aid offices may even be able to help you with the different loans available.
Your (FAFSA) will also generate a (SAR) Student aid report, and this can be used with any scholarships or grants to calculate how much money you may need to borrow to pay for your educational credits.
There is an option to work as you learn. Any funds that you use to offset your repayments will be looked upon by the lenders when they consider loans for any other semesters.