Thursday, October 30, 2014
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Student Financial Aid

Choosing a Lender for an Alternative Educational/Private Loan

The University of Maryland College Park is dedicated to providing students with the best possible solutions to assist with college funding. As a last resort, once all Federal loan options have been exhausted, the Office of Student Financial Aid recommends a list of private loan lenders for students to consider. We have carefully researched lenders using a variety of criteria. These factors include customer service, borrow benefits, interest rates, fees, repayment options, and lender stability. Each year the Office of Student Financial Aid requests information from lenders with regard to private loans in order to provide our students with what we believe are the best options. Students are not obligated to use any lender on this list and may apply for a private loan with any lender they choose. This list is provided as a good place to start your search to compare private loan options.

NEW!! Private Education Loan Self Certification Form

New regulations recently passed now require all private loan borrowers to complete, sign, and return a Private Loan Applicant Self-Certification form to their lender before any funds may be disbursed to the school.

This form was designed to assist students in making an informed decision about borrowing, giving students the opportunity to review information about their financial aid eligibility. This form may be part of the online application process with your lender, or it may be a paper form that you must submit to your lender. Your lender will inform you of their process. The Self-Certification form requires information about the borrower as well as the Cost of Attendance (COA) for the loan period covered by the loan. From the COA, you will deduct the amount of your estimated financial aid, and the amount remaining will be the total that you are able to borrow from your private loan lender. You can retrieve your COA information on Testudo under Financial Aid Inquiry.

If you have any questions regarding the new Self-Certification Form or about private loans, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 301-314-9000 or e-mail at loantalk@umd.edu. The office is also open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. No appointments are necessary.

Alternative Educational/Private Loan Lender List

Click here for a detailed comparison of Alternative Loan lender rates and fees.

Lender Name Customer Service #
1-888-333-0128
1-877-728-3030
1-800-645-7404
1-866-272-0433
1-800-762-1001
1-888-272-5543
1-866-232-3889
1-866-513-8445
1-800-378-5526

Some Questions to Ask Your Private Loan Lender

As you compare private loans, we suggest that you consider the following questions to ask:

  • How much can I borrow?
  • Are any fees associated with this loan?
  • What is the interest rate?
  • How do you calculate the interest rate?
  • What repayment terms are offered?
  • will I need a co-signer?
  • What are the enrollment requirements for the loan?
  • Do I have to be degree-seeking to receive the loan?

Avoid Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Education have created a nice 4-page brochure providing important information on how to spot and avoid deceptive loan practices and considerations for consolidating loans. This brochure can be found at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre43.pdf.

Remember, you are free to select any lender if you choose to apply for a private education loan.