Private Education Loans

Private education loans are sometimes referred to as alternative loans. This type of student loan is provided by a bank or lending institution (such as a credit union or student loan company) and must be repaid, with interest, just like car loans and mortgages. Loans are legal obligations so before you take out a student loan, we encourage you to think about the amount you’ll have to repay over the years. These loans cannot be canceled or discharged if you didn’t get a job in your field of study or if you are having financial difficulty.

We encourage students to utilize grants, scholarships and the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program before borrowing a private education loan. However, if federal and state aid have not covered the cost of your education and you are looking for additional funds, some lenders provide private educational loans to students, usually with a credit-worthy cosigner, at rates that may differ from federal loans.

SUNY Cortland does not maintain a preferred lender list. We will certify any approved loan from any lender. To assist students and parents interested in private loans we provide some tips on how to research private loans and some factors to consider when comparing private education loans.

Things to look for when considering a private loan lender:

  • Interest rates (fixed vs. variable-how often does the rate change)
  • Borrower benefits (interest rate reductions, incentive rewards)
  • Fees (origination fees, disbursement fees, late fees, etc.)
  • Repayment options (terms, grace period, deferment options, interest only options)
  • Customer service (availability, online account access, friendly representatives)

Choosing a private loan lender:

  • Does the lender have specific eligibility requirements (enrollment status, matriculation status)?
  • How does the lender determine credit worthiness?
  • Does the lender have minimum and maximum loan limits including annual and aggregate limits?
  • Does the lender offer an in-school deferment option?
  • What is used to determine the interest rate (Libor vs. Prime)?
  • Does the lender service the loan for the life of the loan?