Private Educational Loans

A student or parent loan from a bank, credit union, private company, a nonprofit or state-affiliated lender, or from the college or university directly to pay for educational costs. Interest begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed, and repayment begins while the student is still enrolled in school.

We urge you to utilize private loans as a last resort. Please research the answers to the following questions before applying for this type of loan or signing any loan paperwork.


  • What are the minimum and maximum loan amounts available?
  • How will my credit rating affect my loan?
  • Is a co-borrower required?
  • Is there an option to release the co-borrower at a later date?

Interest Rate and Fees

  • Is there an interest rate cap?
  • Is the interest variable or fixed, and can it change during the life of the loan?
  • What is the current interest rate?
  • What additional fees, interest reductions, or other incentives are offered during the life of the loan?
  • How is my loan capitalized—annually or only at repayment?

Repayment Terms and Conditions

  • What are the minimum and maximum terms and payment ?
  • When do payments begin?
  • Can interest only payments be made while still in school?
  • Is there a penalty for paying off the loan early?
  • Are grace periods, deferments, or forbearance offered? If so, what are the conditions, and how is interest capitalized during these periods?


  • What is the turnaround time for credit decision and disbursement of funds?
  • How are problems resolved? Does problem resolution occur by phone, online, or another method?
  • What is the lender’s policy on selling loans to other lenders after the loan has been disbursed?

To find and compare a list of lenders that Dickinson students have used, visit our ELMSelect page.