If you aren’t eligible for federal aid or weren’t awarded as much federal aid as you actually need, you or your parents might consider taking out a private student loan through a bank, credit union, or other lender.
You should always consider federal student loans before private loans:
- Federal loans are usually much more affordable.
- Federal loans allow you to put off repaying them until after you graduate.
Before you apply for a private loan, complete your FAFSA to see if you qualify for a federal loan.
Requirements vary based on the lender, but in general you must:
- Have a good credit history or a co-signer with a good credit history
- Be enrolled at least half time
- Undergraduate half time: six credit hours
- Graduate half time: four credit hours
What your loan pays for
Remember, you can borrow only up to your estimated cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid you receive. You can use private student loans to pay for your tuition, fees, room and board, books, and other education-related expenses. Any funds that remain after these items are paid will be refunded to you.
Learn strategies to borrow less
Repaying your loan
Depending on the terms of your loan, you may be required to start repaying the loan before you finish your education.
Learn more about repaying your loan