Private student loans (also called alternative loans) should only be considered after first applying for federal student aid, using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Private loans are offered by private lenders and eligibility depends on a credit score. You will apply for a private student loan directly through a lender.
When to Apply
A private loan may be a good option if you have a gap between your financial aid and the cost to attend, your parents will not borrow (or have been denied) a Federal Parent PLUS Loan, you're ineligible for a federal loan, you're an international student, or you owe a balance from a previous semester.
To allow time for processing and avoid late fees on the bill, apply before the recommended times below, based on which semester(s) you'll be enrolled.