University of Saint Thomas

Private Lending for Higher Education

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The Undergraduate Financial Aid Office recommends that students first apply for financial aid by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filing the FAFSA will automatically allow students to be considered for federal student loans. We suggest that you utilize all of your federal loan options before pursuing a private educational loan.

A private loan is a non-federal educational loan from a private lending institution that is issued to the student and generally requires a co-signer. These loans vary in terms, conditions, and eligibility requirements. Some lenders require that students are making Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by the Department of Education. If you have been notified or have reason to believe that you are not meeting those requirements, please contact the lender before submitting an application to determine if you would be eligible for their loan product. Private loans typically have variable or fixed interest rates which are based on credit scores, may have fees, and may require interest payments while the student is in school. Before applying for any private loan, you are encouraged to carefully evaluate the criteria for each loan program to determine if any of the programs provided here are right for you.

Federal regulations require lenders to provide multiple loan disclosures to borrowers, a Student Self Certification Form as well as an additional period for borrowers to decline the loan once it has been approved. These regulations will add significant time to loan processing and fund disbursement so it will be necessary to allow plenty of time when considering private loan options.