Only after you have maxed out all federal options, should you consider applying for an alternative/private loan. Financial Aid has a great section explaining how to choose the best alternative/private loans.
You can also compare loans using this helpful handout: ChooseStudentLoan.
Here are a few things to consider when assessing private loans:
- What is the interest rate? Is it fixed or variable?
- What is the interest rate cap for variable rates?
- Are there fees? What are they? Do you have prepayment penalty fees?
- When will my repayment begin?
- What are my repayment options?
- What will my monthly payments be?
- What will be the total costs of the loan (interest, principal, fees)?
- Are there any discounts for automatic payments and/or on-time payments?
- Are there deferment/forbearance options during repayment?
Need help choosing an alternative loan? Meet with a Financial Fitness advisor.