Private loans are borrowed by the student through a non-federal lender, with each lender setting the terms and conditions of the loan. Most require a credit-worthy co-signor, with U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
PLUS Loan vs. Private Loan (chart)
Because of the more favorable interest rates and repayment terms of federal student loans, private loans should only be taken after all Stafford Loans have been used, and the PLUS (parent loan) has been considered. You are free to select any loan program you want to use.
Choosing a private loan is a personal decision and Lake Forest College has partnered with ELMSelect to offer a tool to assist students and families. ELMSelect is a tool that allows you to compare lenders and helps you select a loan product that best fits your needs. Lake Forest College does not recommend any particular private lender and does not have a preferred lender list.
Some of the questions you want to ask yourself when considering a private lender are:
- What are the current interest rates?
- How often do these rates fluctuate?
- Is there an interest rate cap?
- Are there any fee reductions, interest reductions or other incentives offered during the life of the loan?
- Do the loan interest rates (or other incentives) change based on my credit, academic level or whether I have a co-signer?
- When are late charges assessed and how much are these charges?
- How is the interest on my loan capitalized — quarterly, annually or only at repayment?
- What are the repayment terms?
- Are there any penalties for pre-payments, late payments or any other reason?
- Are death and disability discharge options available under those circumstances?
Before applying for a private loan:
If you haven’t already applied for “need-based financial aid” you should ask our office if you qualify before completing a private loan application.
Compare private loans with federal parent loans, using the links in the upper, right column of this page.
Be sure you carefully review and understand all repayment terms before agreeing to apply for the loan. If you ever have questions, please contact our office (see Contacts in right column).
To apply for a private loan, you must:
- Determine the amount you need to borrow by carefully reviewing your billing statement.
- Select a lender
- Complete the lender’s application
We are happy to help in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about this process.
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FINANCIAL AID STAFF
Si necesita hablar con alguien en español en la oficina de ayuda financiera, usted puede llamar a Adriana Rodriguez.