Private Student Loans Guru
Private Student Loans Guru

Private Student Loans

By Mark Kantrowitz

Private student loans are non-federal education loans made by banks, non-bank financial institutions, credit unions and state loan programs. The terms of a private student loan are set by the lender, not the federal government, and the loans are not guaranteed by the federal government. Eligibility for a private student loan and the interest rates and fees are usually based on the credit scores of the borrower and cosigner (if any). Private student loans may also have minimum income requirements, maximum debt-to-income ratios and other criteria.

Students should borrow federal first, because federal student loans are usually cheaper, more available and have better repayment terms.

List of Private Student Loans

This table lists all education lenders who provide private student loans. The lenders are listed in alphabetical order.

LenderGeographic
Restrictions
Payment Options During
In-School and Grace Periods
Repayment Terms
(Years)
Cosigner
Release
Death & Disability Discharge
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) (Alaska Supplemental Education Loan (ASEL))AlaskaFull Deferment10No 
Cedar Education Lending Full Deferment1024 
Citizens Bank Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment5, 10, 1536Both
Citizens One Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment5, 10, 1536Both
College Ave Student Loans Immediate, Interest-Only, Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment8, 10, 12, 1524Both
Commerce Bank (Your Future Education Loan) Interest-Only, Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment5-1512Both
CommonBond Inc. Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment10, 1536 
Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA)ConnecticutInterest-Only (Undergraduate, Graduate), Full Deferment (Graduate)11.7 (140 months)60 
Credit Union Student Choice Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment20, 25
Level, Graduated
48 
Dakota Education Alternative Loan (DEAL)North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming or WisconsinImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1024 
Discover Student Loans Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment15, 20NoBoth
Higher Education Servicing Corp. (Texas) (Texas ExtraCredit Education Loan)TexasImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment10, 1524Death Only
Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA) (Georgia Student Access Loan (SAL))GeorgiaFixed ($10/month)15N/ABoth
Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) (iHELP Student Loans) Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment2024 
Indiana Secondary Market for Education Loans (ISM) (ISM Help Loan) Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1248 
Iowa Student Loan (Partnership Advance Education Loan)IowaImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1024 
Iowa Student Loan (Iowa Alliance Private Student Loan Program)Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Oklahoma, South Carolina, WisconsinFull Deferment20N/A 
Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC) (Advantage Education Loan) Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment10, 15NoBoth
LendKey Private Student Loans Interest-Only, Full Deferment1512-36 
Maine Educational Loan Authority (MELA)MaineImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment4-25No 
Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA)MassachusettsImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1548 
Minnesota Office of Higher Education (SELF Loan)MinnesotaInterest-Only10, 15, 20
Level, Graduated
No 
New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELCO) (EDvestinU)New HampshireImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1024Death Only
New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) (NJCLASS Loans)New JerseyImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment10, 15, 20NoDeath Only
New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (NMEAF) (New Mexico Student Loans)New MexicoImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1024Death Only
PNC Education Lending Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment1548Death Only
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA)Rhode IslandImmediate, Full Deferment10, 15
Level, Income-Based
24Death Only
Sallie Mae Interest-Only, Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment5-15
Level, Graduated
12Both
South Carolina Student Loan Corporation (Palmetto Assistance Loan)(Residents of Massachusetts, Oklahoma and West Virginia are not eligible.)Interest-Only, Full Deferment10, 15No 
SunTrust Education Loans Immediate, Interest-Only, Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment7, 10, 1548Both
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) (College Access Loan (CAL))TexasFull Deferment10, 20 Both
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) (B-On-Time Loan (BOT))TexasFull Deferment15N/ABoth
U-fi Student Loans Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment5, 10, 1524 
Union Federal Private Student Loan funded by SunTrust Bank Immediate, Interest-Only, Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment5, 10, 15No 
Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) (Complete Student Loans)UtahImmediate, Interest-Only10, 15No 
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) (Vermont Advantage Loan)VermontImmediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment10, 1548 
Wells Fargo Private Student Loans Immediate, Interest-Only, Full Deferment15, 2024Both
WSFS Bank Interest-Only, Fixed ($25/month), Full Deferment1548 

Notes:

  • Cosigner release is defined as occurring after a specified number of consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest, if the primary borrower satisfies credit criteria. Some lenders may also require the primary borrower to satisfy minimum employment duration and minimum income requirements.
  • Geographic restrictions require that the borrower to be a legal resident of or enrolled in an eligible college or university in the specified state or states. In some cases, the cosigner, if any, must also be a state resident.
  • Repayment terms may depend on the loan balance at the start of repayment.
  • Death and disability discharges cancel the remaining debt when the primary borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled. The death and disability discharges do not apply when the cosigner dies or becomes disabled.
  • Lender terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information about a lender's products and services, please visit the lender's web site.