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Private Student Loans

Who Can Get Private Student Loans

Students currently attending a four-year college or university, community college, or other educational institution may be eligible for private student loans.

Private loans are made through private banks, credit unions, state agencies, and financial institutions.

Private loans should only be considered once federal student loans, grants, work study, and scholarship funds have been exhausted.


Several types of private loans are available to students pursuing undergraduate degrees. A private loan can help fill in the gaps once federal financial aid has been exhausted.

Graduate & Professional

Students who are working towards a law degree, MBA, or other graduate or professional-level degree may apply for private student loans to help cover their educational and living expenses.


If you have private student loans, private loan consolidation may be a good option. This allows you to have one monthly payment instead of several, and may allow you to lower your monthly payment and/or give you a better interest rate if your credit has improved since you originally took out the loan.

Many lenders offer benefits that include:

  • Choice of variable or fixed interest rates.
  • No origination, disbursement, or prepayment fees.
  • Higher aggregate borrowing limits than federal student loans, depending on degree program.
  • Borrower benefits that can reduce the interest rate on the loan.
  • Co-borrowers can typically apply for release after a period of consecutive on-time payments.

Eligibility depends on the school attended and a credit check. A co-borrower is highly recommended and may be required if the borrower has adverse credit. Most private student loans require the school to certify the borrower’s attendance and required financial need. International students with U.S. citizen co-borrowers may apply.

Loan limits:
Private student loan amounts vary by lender and typically have minimum loan amounts, annual borrowing limits based on the cost of education less other financial aid, and aggregate lifetime loan limits.  Most private student loan lenders allow graduate and professional degree-seeking students to borrow larger amounts than undergraduate students.

Types of Private Student Loans
 UndergraduateGraduate & ProfessionalConsolidation
Interest Rate1 Fixed or Variable Fixed or Variable Fixed or Variable
Credit Check Yes Yes Yes
Loan Limit2 Cost of education less financial aid Cost of education less financial aid Varies
Repayment Term3 Up to 15 years Up to 20 years Up to 25 years

1 Variable rates are typically based on an index such as like the prime rate or the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR").  Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the underlying interest rate index.
2 Annual and aggregate loan limits vary by lender, degree program and type of loan. Most graduate and professional degree programs have higher loan limits than undergraduate degrees.
3 Maximum repayment terms vary by lender, degree program and type of loan.

How to Apply

Many private banks, credit unions, state agencies, and financial institutions offer private student loans. You can get started on your application here.

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