Private Education Loans

Private education loans are specific consumer loans in the student's name offered by private lenders to help pay education expenses for the year. These need to be researched very carefully as they are not federal loans. Our office recommends borrowing Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS loans first before borrowing a private education loan. Students from Minnesota may also want to check out the Minnesota SELF Loan program.

Features include:

  • Cosigner is usually required
  • Must undergo credit check
  • Variable interest rates may change monthly or quarterly
  • Fixed interest rates offered by some lenders

Tips for choosing a Private Education Loan

1. Where can you find a Private Education Loan?

Some banks and credit unions offer private education loans. Details regarding these programs are provided when you click on the 'Start Now' button below. You can borrow from a lender on this list or from any other lender of your choice.
  • CU Student Loans
  • Discover Student Loans
  • Minnesota SELF Loans (must be a Minnesota resident)
  • Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan
  • Thrivent Federal Credit Union Private Student Loan
  • Wells Fargo Collegiate Loan
  • Wells Fargo Graduate Loan
2. What are the interest rates and fees charged private education loans?

Each lender determines the interest rate and fee structure for its own loan programs. They will typically base the interest rate on a benchmark such as prime or LIBOR plus a specific percent margin. As prime or LIBOR go up or down, so does your interest rate.
3. When does repayment begin and how long does it last?

Many private education loan programs start the payments 6 months after college graduation (or after leaving school). Interest accrues while you are still in school. Typical repayment plans last anywhere from 7-25 years. You may save money by starting immediate repayment on the principal and interest of the loan or by making interest only payments while you are in school. To save even more money, consider paying the loan off as fast as possible!

Remember to borrow only what is needed when using a private education loan. Compare loan programs to determine the program that is best for you.

Private Education Loan application process

  1. Determine the amount of loan needed for the entire school year. Be sure to borrow your maximum Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans first.
  2. Determine the private education loan that you plan to use.
  3. Sign the promissory note and complete the requirements of the lender for that loan program.

If you prefer to borrow from a lender of your choice, go to the lender's website to apply for the loan.

Questions? Contact the WLC Financial Aid Office
phone: (414) 443-8856
fax: (414) 443-8540