Private Student Loan Overview
Private student loans, also known as alternative student loans, offer another financing option that can help cover college costs when your financial aid package fails to meet your needs.
A private student loan can be used to pay for:
Most private student loan lenders offer:
- Choice of fixed or variable interest rates
- Interest rate discounts for having payments automatically deducted from a bank account
- Easy online application and account management
- Funding to cover the full cost of attendance, less other financial aid received
- Year-round application acceptance and processing
Common eligibility requirements:
- Student borrower and cosigner must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
- Student borrower and cosigner must have valid Social Security Numbers
- Student borrower and cosigner must pass a credit check
- Student must be enrolled at least half-time
- Lender must offer loans at the student's school
How the process typically works:
Step 1: Choose a lender that works with your school. See your private student loan options.
Step 2: Apply online with the lender you chose. In most cases, once your application is submitted, you'll be notified of your pre-qualification within minutes.
Step 3: Review and sign supplemental documents. This step can usually be completed online or on paper.
Step 4: Get approved and sign. Once your application is approved, you'll need to sign a Self-Certification form and Promissory Note/Loan Contract.
Step 5: Your school certifies the loan. In this step, which is handled by your lender and the school you are attending, your enrollment and eligibility are verified.
Step 6: Lender sends the loan funds to your school, and your school applies the funds to your account.