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Alternative/private student loans

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Because alternative loans are funded and administered by private lenders, each has its own unique terms and conditions. The following information will provide some general guidance, but you must obtain details about specific loans from the lender.

Only use alternative loans as a last resort in funding your education.


The federal government does not fund alternative (or private) loans, which are credit-based loans approved based on the good credit history of the student and/or a co-signer.

Choosing a lender

You should carefully review the interest rates and fees charged by the alternative loan you are considering, in order to find the one that best fits your needs.


Most alternative loans give students 15 to 25 years for repayment. You should review the repayment options offered by each loan you are considering, along with any borrower benefits offered at repayment.

More information

Read our private loan counseling content (PDF) and talk to your school's financial aid office.