Financial Fitness > Pay for School > Choosing Alternative Loans

How to Choose Alternative Loans

​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. There is also a resource called Elm Select​ that you can use to review private loans which DePaul students have borrowed in the last five years. This resource is not a preferred lender list, but a way for you to research some options. 

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.

Additional Resources

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