Many banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer private (non-federal) student loans, sometimes called alternative loans. Private loan programs may offer interest rates and terms that are competitive with those of federal loans. However, as you consider your borrowing options, you should keep in mind that federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including income-based repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which private loans are not required to provide. Also, federal Direct loans are available to students regardless of income.
Available to credit-worthy students; no FAFSA is required. Eligibility for private loans varies among lenders, but a credit check and/or debt-to-income ratio is usually required. A co-borrower may also be required. You must apply for this type of loan separately.
Preferred Private Loan Lenders:
Please visit FASTChoice to see a list of our preferred private loan lenders. This tool will allow you to compare lenders according to overall cost, interest rate, and repayment benefits. We will certify loan requests from all lenders, including those that do not appear on our preferred lender list. For more information on how lenders were selected to be on our list, please review our lender selection criteria.
Maximum Loan Amount:
Up to your total cost of attendance, less all other financial aid.
Varies among lenders; many do not offer fixed interest rates. Interest rates may be lower for students who apply with a co-borrower.
Varies among lenders.
Requirements to Receive Loan:
You must apply directly with the lender of your choice. When applying for a private loan, apply early, as processing can take several weeks.
Repayment terms vary among lenders. Some may offer deferment while you are enrolled, but some lenders may require you to begin repayment at disbursement of the loan.
Repayment options vary among lenders. Private education loans cannot be consolidated with any federal student loan.
Learn more about these loans through our private education loan page.