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Private Loans

Private loans are non-federal educational loans through private lenders (banks) which allow students to borrow additional funds after federal student loans have been exhausted.

Each lender has different eligibility requirements, interest rates, fees, and repayment terms.  For example some lenders may require students to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program, while other lenders may allow students who are non-degree or enrolled less than half-time to borrow.  

Borrower:   Student or Parent

Additional Requirements:  Funds cannot be disbursed to the student's account until all requirements are complete.  Students applying for any private (non-federal) educational loan must complete a Self-Certification form.  More information available here.



Top Five Important Tips about Private Loans
  1. It is usually in students' best interest to borrow the maximum amount of federal student loans before borrowing from a private lender.
  2. Students should apply for a private loan with a creditworthy endorser/co-signer to ensure the best rates and terms.
  3. Students cannot go over their Cost of Attendance with their federal aid and private loans.  See "How Much Can Be Borrowed" to determine maximum amounts for the aid year.
  4. Some lenders require payments while students are still in school.  Private loans cannot be consolidated with federal loans for payment purposes.
  5. Private loan funds usually do not disburse to the institution until approximately two weeks after the certification is complete.  Please note loans certified in well before the start of the semester often do not disburse until closer to the start of the semester.  Once loan funds are received, the  refund process  will begin if the loan is more than the student's institutional charges.

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When to Apply
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How Much Can Be Borrowed

The maximum amount eligible students can borrow is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.

To determine the maximum amount that can be borrowed, the student can: 

  1. Go to  star.wvu.edu
  2. Click on "STAR Information System Login"
  3. Enter login credentials (WVU username and password)
  4. Click on "Financial Aid"
  5. Click on "Award"
  6. Select aid year
  7. Click on "Award Overview Tab"
  8. Take the "Cost of Attendance" for the year and subtract any anticipated financial aid and outside resources.
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Compare Private Lenders

You have the right to select the private lender of your choice.  The following link for  ELMSelect is a private loan search engine where you can compare different lenders and loan products. Neither WVU nor Student Financial Support and Services intends any specific endorsement of these lenders.

Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, and Rhode Island offer private loans to their residents. See “Private Loans Available by State Agencies” below.

ELM Select

Private Loans Available by State Agencies

The following is a list of state agencies that offer private loans to their residents:

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Private Loans vs. Federal PLUS Loans

There are various differences between federal and private lenders such as the borrower, the lender, interest rates, fees, and terms. The information and chart below can help you compare options.

Parents: Top Four Differences Between the Parent PLUS Loan and Private Loans
  1. Lender: The lender for Parent PLUS Loans is the federal government. Private lenders – banks or credit unions – are the lenders for private student loans.
  2. Borrower: With Parent PLUS Loans, the parent applies for the loan, and the loan/debt remains in the parent’s name. Only parents of students who are dependent for federal aid purposes can apply for this loan. With private loans, the student or the parent (depending on the lender) may apply for the loan. If the student applies for the private loan, they may need the parent as an endorser/cosigner (depending on the student’s credit history).
  3. Interest Rate: Parent PLUS loans have fixed interest rates for the life of the loan. Interest rates can be found at  studentaid.ed.gov. Interest rates for private loans are based on the borrower’s credit history. The lender may offer fixed or variable interest rate options to the borrower.
  4. Loan Terms: PLUS Loans can be deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time at an accredited institution. This may not be true for all private loans. There may even be a limitation on the amount of time a borrower qualifies for an in-school deferment. In addition, PLUS loans generally have more flexible repayment options than a private lender may provide.
Graduate/Professional Students: Top Four Differences Between the Graduate PLUS and Private Loans
  1. Lender: The lender for Graduate PLUS Loans is the federal government. Private lenders – banks or credit unions – are the lenders for private student loans.
  2. Borrower: With Graduate PLUS Loans, the student applies for the loan. With private loans, the student or the parent (depending on the lender) may apply for the loan. The student may need the parent as an endorser/cosigner (depending on the student’s credit history).
  3. Interest Rate: Graduate PLUS loans have fixed interest rates for the life of the loan. Interest rates can be found at  studentaid.ed.gov. Interest rates for private loans are based on the borrower’s credit history. The lender may offer fixed or variable interest rate options to the borrower.
  4. Loan Terms: PLUS Loans can be deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time at an accredited institution. This may not be true for all private loans. There may even be a limitation on the amount of time a borrower qualifies for an in-school deferment. In addition, PLUS loans generally have more flexible repayment options than a private lender may provide – especially for students borrowing a Graduate PLUS loan.
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