Pay for College

Explore college costs and plan how you'll pay for your degree or certificate.

Before You Borrow Private Loans

Learn private loan terms and conditions before you borrow

If you've exhausted all forms of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study, and state and federal loans, you might consider private loans to help pay for college. Why pursue private loans last? Private loans are not funded, or guaranteed, by the federal government, so they generally come with fewer benefits and stricter terms. If you borrow private loans, use them to help supplement federal financial aid, not to replace it.

What's the difference between private and federal loans?

Private loans differ from federal loans in many ways. Generally, private loans have the following features:

  • Credit-based. You need credit to be eligible, or you must have an eligible co-signer.

  • Higher interest rates

  • Higher origination fees

  • Limited deferments and forbearances

  • Limited grace periods

  • No interest subsidy. You must repay all interest, including interest that accrues while in school.

  • Not eligible for consolidating with a federal Consolidation loan.

  • Require at least half-time enrollment in college

Before you apply

If you're certain you need a private loan, shop around for a loan that fits your needs. Consider the following as you evaluate your options.

  • Compare loans. Do an apples-to-apples comparison of loan terms, interest rates, repayment incentives, and loan fees.

  • Check your credit report. Lenders take your credit report information and use it to determine the terms on which you can borrow with or without a co-signer. A credit report itself will not determine if you pass a lender's credit scoring, but you should identify any problems or errors on the report before you apply.

More help

To learn more about private student loans, refer to TG's Private Loans page.

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