Education loan: The government's Vidyalakshmi website will help you get one

This website lets you fill a common education loan application form that you can use to apply to many banks simultaneously through it.

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A common education loan application on this website can be used to apply to multiple banks.
If the thought of paying hefty fees of college tuition or taking an education loan has haunted you at least once, then here is one simple solution for you. There is a website that can help you with the tedious process of applying for and reaching out to various banks for an education loan.

Through the portal, www.vidyalakshmi.co.in , students can view, apply and track the education loan applications to banks anytime, anywhere. It also provides linkages to the National Scholarship Portal. It has been developed and maintained by the National Securities Depository (NSDL) e-Governance Infrastructure. Registered on this platform are banks like Canara Bank, Dena Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank and many, many more. Here are the steps that you need to follow to apply for an education loan on the website:

1. Register and create an account:

To use the website you need to sign up. On the landing page itself you will see a blue circle that says 'Register' ( see image below). Click on this.

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You will then be directed to the next page, where you have to fill in basic details such as your name, email ID. When you 'agree' to the conditions and hit 'submit', you will receive an activation link in the email ID you just registered with. Go to your mailbox, open this link in the mail and your account will be created successfully.

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Note that this activation link is valid only for 24 hours. Also, after clicking on the activation link, when you log back in, you will need to re-enter your email ID, your password and the captcha code. Logging in will take you to the page shown below ( see images).

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2. Picking your scheme:
Before you go on to fill the loan application, browse through the various kinds of schemes available with different banks. At the bottom of the page, you will see eight orange tabs.

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Go to the tab 'Search for Loan Scheme'. Note that the top of the page clearly states that you can only apply to maximum three banks and for only one scheme of each of those banks. On the left, you will see three search filters. Enter your desired options in each and you will see the loan listings. For any given scheme, you will have the choice of locating a suitable bank branch or applying for the loan. If you click on the latter, you will be redirected to fill in the application form, click on this option. You will now be redirected to the tab where you fill the Common Education Loan Application Form (CELAF).
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Note that you need to keep your documents such as income proofs, ID proofs, highest education certificates handy before you actually start filling the form.
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3. Applying for the loan:
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You will now see seven tabs, starting with 'instructions'. In here, there are detailed guidelines given for you to follow regarding the form and details such as loan amount required, income, contact details etc. you have to fill. There are eight points and another pointer called 'Important Notes'. Make sure you read all these properly before you proceed to filling your details.

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The steps to fill details in all of the following tabs are simple and self-explanatory. In fact, everything you need to know such as mandatory information, is mentioned clearly wherever it's needed. After filling details in every tab, you have to hit 'submit', then 'save' and finally, 'next'.

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This very form will finally be used to apply individually to the respective bank and scheme chosen by you, therefore, fill all the details carefully. Make sure you keep all your qualification certificates and identification documents ready.

4. Following up:
Among the orange tabs on the home page, one says 'Application status', this should be your first resort to check your loan applications' status.

On contacting one of the branches of Vidya Lakshmi, we found out that after finally submitting your loan application, you are to follow up with the bank/s whose scheme you have chosen and applied for, if you don't hear from them. However, normally, the bank itself reverts to you with regards to your application, on the contact details you mention in your form.

There is a 'contact us' page also given at the bottom of the website, where details of the head office as well as the four branches -- Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad -- are given.
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