Compare Private Student Loans to Stafford Loans
Private Loan Benefits:
- Borrow up to the true cost of your education
- Fast eSignature process
Stafford loans are recommended as the first, best choice for students to borrow for the cost of education.
However, there are some situations in which private student loans may be an alternative or a complementary choice to Stafford loans.
Stafford loan limits
For most college students, Stafford loans have strict limits that prohibit you from borrowing more than a certain amount each year. However, these limits are revised infrequently and often do not account for the total cost of education, including fees, books, supplies, computers, rent, and other education-related expenses. In circumstances where the total amount at the bottom of your tuition bill is greater than what a Stafford loan can provide, a private student loan can help close the gap. Learn more about other ways to fill the gap in your college financial aid.
Stafford loan school eligibility
Stafford loans require students to be enrolled at least half-time at an accredited, Title IV school. Not every school participates in the federal student loan program for a variety of reasons, but schools may participate in private student loan programs as an alternative. Students attending non-Title IV schools can still pay for their education using private student loans.
Stafford loan student eligibility
Some students, parents, and families have unique or different situations that federal student loans cannot correctly account for. For example, some parents are unwilling or unable to help students by completing a FAFSA. As a result, their students are ineligible for federal student aid. These same students may be eligible for a private student loan.
In other cases, financial aid eligibility may be constrained in a given year if a student wins a large one-time scholarship or a parent has a successful previous year in a commission-based business like real estate, radically altering their federal financial aid eligibility even though their overall financial situation may not have changed. These students and families may pursue a private student loan to make up for the loss of federal student loans for a given year.
For more information:
Compare the best private student loans, check out our private student loan frequently asked questions page, or simply get started and apply for a private student loan. PrivateStudentLoans.com always recommends that students explore all of their financial aid options, from scholarships and grants to federal student loans, in addition to learning more about private student loans.