Before applying for a private loan, students should always exhaust all of their federal loan eligibility. Parents may also want to consider using federal parent loan funds before cosigning a private loan for a student.

The Office of Student Financial Services encourages students and families using private loans to apply for one full academic year at a time rather than on a per-semester basis. This prevents multiple hits on the borrower’s credit report and ensures that a student has a way to cover their costs for a full academic year. If you need assistance planning or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We recommend that students apply for a private loan with a co-signer. A co-signer assumes responsibility for a loan should the borrower fail to repay. Having a co-signer on the loan often results in a lower interest rate and reduced fees. Please see our information on the Qualities of a Good Cosigner to help you choose a co-signer prior to applying for a loan.

The following are some questions that you may want to ask your lender or consider when choosing a lender/loan option:

  • Do you charge any fees for disbursement, repayment, deferments?
  • Are the fees deducted from the loan disbursements or added to the total loan amount?
  • Are in school payments required?
  • What is the interest rate?
  • Is the interest rate variable or fixed?
  • When is interest capitalized?
  • Do you offer flexible repayment options?
  • Can I request a deferment or forbearance after I leave school and enter repayment?
  • Do you offer interest rate reductions for auto-debit payments?
  • How much experience do your customer service representatives have?
  • Can I talk to a person, not an automated system? How long is the wait time typically?
  • Can I email an account representative if needed?
  • How long have you been lending loans?
  • Do you have a history of selling loans?
  • What are my options for loan consolidation?