That's right, you *generally* don't have to apply for Stafford loans. The money comes from the government, and get disbursed through the school. The problem with this, though, is that you're going to get about $550 less each year because of origination fees ... unless you get it through a different lender. Accessgroup, for example, doesn't charge origination fees, but does have something called a guarantor fee. I think citibank might be origination-fee-less, but not sure. Check out northstar.org, a non-profit lending agency.