Private Student Loan Help
It's no secret that private student loans can be tricky and sometimes need more than a little explanation. That's why we've decided to make this private student loan help page to outline the main things you need to know and consider before getting one.
Do I need a private student loan?
It depends. Have you done any of these things?
- Figured out your outstanding tuition balance (Cost of Attendance - Financial Aid)
- Filed the FAFSA and received federal student aid
- Performed a financial aid appeal at your school to maximize scholarships, grants and low-interest loans
- Found a creditworthy co-signer
If you answered "no" to any of these points, we advise that you stop and ask for help. You will be better prepared when you do apply for a private student loan and you may erase the need for one altogether.
Help! How do I get a private student loan?
Generally speaking, you get a private student loan by filling out an online or paper application at a lending institution of your choice. We happen to have a convenient private loan comparison tool that you can use to expedite the process.
Once you fill this application out, you should know within a week or so (usually right away) whether or not you were approved for the loan. The funds will then be disbursed to your school shortly after. Private student loan lenders are happy to help you throughout the process.
Can I get a private student loan on my own?
Apply With a Cosigner
While not required, we strongly encourage undergraduate students to apply with a creditworthy cosigner if they may have difficulty qualifying for a loan due to limited income and credit history. This may increase an applicant's chances of approval and of possibly obtaining a better interest rate.
What are some helpful private student loan "shopping tips"?
- It needs to cover your expenses without bankrupting you.
Most (if not all) private student loans come with payment deferral during school, but that doesn't mean you won't be hurting upon graduation when all the interest suddenly is capitalized and added to the loan balance. This means it is very important to be thorough when shopping for a loan. Don't take out more than you need and specifically, find the lowest APR (interest rate) you can.
- Compare each loan, just like buying a TV or a car.
Much like any other large purchase, student loans all have their own blend of features and benefits. Some have incentives like graduation rewards or co-signer release options for making your payments on time. The best way to compare your loans in one spot is to use the loan comparison tool. It has the most popular student lending banks on it and you're sure to find something right for your situation.
Above all else, look before you leap. The worst thing you can do is jump into a financial obligation without understanding the fine print and even your rights and responsibilities.
Have more unanswered questions? Post them in our financial aid forum. We check it several times a week and have hundreds of active members to help out too!