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How To Get Private Student Loans

Private student loans are specialized education loans that should be considered only after all federal student loans, grants and scholarships have been exhausted. Private student loans are based on your credit history and income, and are used for education-related expenses including tuition, books, transportation, and housing. Since students generally do not have extensive credit history, it will require a credit-worthy cosigner to get a private student loan.

Here we break down further the eligibility requirements to getting a private student loan, benefits, and payment options available, as well as how funds for a private student loan are disbursed. To compare lenders rates and offers for a particular school visit If you have additional questions about private student loans, visit the Private Student Loan Forum.


  • Must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or have a cosigner who is
  • Borrowers without a cosigner must have at least 27 months of established credit history
  • Borrowers need to provide proof of enrollment, ie: a college tuition bill, award letter or recent transcript


  • Private student loans are not need-based
  • You may apply for a private student loan at any time
  • You can borrow up the full cost of attendance
  • You are not required to make payments while you are enrolled at least half-time in school
  • Up to $2,500 in interest may be tax deductible - you should consult a tax advisor for details
  • Some lenders provide an interest rate deduction if you sett up automatic payments during repayment

Repayment Options

Full Deferral

Do not pay any interest or principal while enrolled in school (up to four consecutive years), however interest will continue to accrue during this period and is added to the loan balance. Payments for principal and interest will begin 6 months after graduation, or when you are no longer enrolled at least half time.

Interest Only

Pay only the accrued interest while enrolled in school (up to four consecutive years). Payment of principal and interest will begin either 45 days after graduation or withdrawal from school.

Immediate Repayment

Payment of principal and interest will begin 45 days after loan is disbursed.

Disbursement of Funds

After receiving conditional approval, completing a promissory note, and submitting the proper documentation, it typically takes about 14 days to receive a disbursement check. If everything is running smoothly, it can take as little as five business days after conditional approval.

Where is the disbursement check sent? Most lenders will send the check directly to you, at the mailing address you provided. Note that if you have a cosigner, the check will be made co-payable to both of you. Other lenders will write and send the check directly to your school, and the school will send you a check for the remainder amount after taking out tuition.