Orange barPrivate student loans are an option for dependent students whose parent is not pursuing the Federal Direct PLUS loan, for independent students who need additional loans to supplement other financial assistance, and for non-degree students who are not eligible for or need to supplement their federal aid.

Since private loans are not part of the Federal loan program, a FAFSA is not required.  However, Federal loans are generally more attractive than private loans, so we still recommend students apply for financial aid and maximize their Federal loan borrowing before borrowing through private loans. Typically, Federal loans have more flexible repayment options, and other benefits, including deferment and cancelation clauses which may not be available through a private student loan. Go to to view a chart showing a summary of the differences between Federal student loans and private loans.

Private student loans require an application, credit approval (most will require a student to apply with a co-signer, completion of a Promissory Note, completion of self-certification form, and possibly other requirements which may be specific to your chosen lender/loan.

Research your options

We encourage students to research and compare private loan options before applying. Please keep in mind the following:

Questions to ask when shopping

It's important to ask questions and compare lenders so you can make the best choice for you.

  • What is the interest rate? - Is it fixed or variable?
    • If variable, does it have a maximum interest rate?
    • If variable, how often will it change? (in-school versus repayment)
  • Is the rate received based on credit?
  • Is a co-signer required? Will having a co-signer lower my interest rate?
  • When is accrued interest capitalized (added to the principal balance)?
  • Is there any application, origination, disbursement, repayment, default, or late payment fees?
  • What will the minimum payment be?
  • How long will I have to repay the loan? Is there a pre-payment penalty?
  • Are payments required while I am in school?
  • What options are available if I have trouble making payments due to a job loss, or economic hardship?
    • If deferment or forbearance is allowed, are there any consequences, like increases to the interest rate?