How to Apply for a Private Loan
Private education loans are sometimes called alternative loans. We strongly encourage students to apply for all other forms of aid before applying for a private loan. Grants and scholarships do not have to be paid back, and federal student loans are almost always a better deal for the student than a private loan. Approval of private loan applications and the resulting interest rate are dependent on the student’s or the cosigner’s credit history.
To research and apply for a private loan, click on one of the two application tools listed below. INvestED Marketplace and FASTChoice both provide you ways to compare lenders and rates for possible alternative education loans. INvestED Marketplace will allow you to compare actual rates from their lenders based on the borrower’s or cosigner’s credit history. FASTChoice will provide you with a range of rates from the lenders on that list after you work through several pages of information about private loans. Then you work with the lenders you want to contact for the actual rate you would have with them.
Students are not limited to choosing a lender on either of these sites. Students who choose a lender that is not on one of these lists will need to provide the lender's certification form so that we have the information we need to process the loan request.
We share the links to these two tools only as a service to students and parents. We will cooperate with any lender a student or parent chooses.
We include lenders on our list of preferred lenders of private loans based on their meeting some or all of the following criteria:
- Students who have selected a lender in the past have received good service in regard to such things as timeliness of disbursements, availability of lender representatives to answer questions, and so forth.
- A lender is willing to offer loans to students who are enrolled at less than half-time status.
- A lender is willing to share information for comparison in the INvestED Marketplace product or Great Lakes’ FASTChoice product.
- A lender is willing to disburse funds and accept returns through Great Lakes’ electronic disbursement/return system.
Disclosures lenders must provide to borrowers:
- Application and Solicitation Disclosure: Provided when an application is started.
- Borrower Self-Certification Form: BEFORE disbursements can be made, the private loan lender must obtain a completed and signed self-certification form from the borrower. Normally this form is given to the student by the lender when the initial Application and Solicitation Disclosure form is sent. However, you may obtain a copy of the self-certification form by clicking here.
- Loan Approved Disclosure: Sent after credit is approved, this disclosure provides information about the terms of the loan. The borrower must actively accept the loan terms within 30 days of receipt of the disclosure for the loan application to proceed.
- Final Disclosure: Sent after the borrower has accepted the terms of the loan and after the school has certified the loan amount. The loan funds cannot be disbursed to the school until up to 7 days have passed from the lender sending this disclosure to the borrower.