Private Loans are educational loans offered to students by private lending institutions (banks). These loans are for educational expenses only and should be used as a last resource, as they require a long-term committment to repay and typically high interest rates. Also failure to repay your private loans may result in serious consequences to your credit!
Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions regarding your decision to borrow a Private Student Loan.
STEPS TO PRIVATE LOANS:
1. Take Federal Loans First
Make sure you take advantage of Federal loans and grants first! Federal Direct Loans offer fixed rates, please learn more about them HERE. Parents interested in borrowing on their child’s behalf should consider the advantages of the Parent PLUS Loan (fixed interest , forbearance options and possible tax benefits)
Most students do not qualify for private loans without a co-signer. Please review our Co-signer 101 section below to learn more about who to ask.
3. Choose Your Lender
Review some of the lenders we work with on the OTIS FastChoice Tool. It’s up to you to be a well-informed consumer and choose the best lender for you.
Students have the right to select the education loan provider of their choice and are not required to use any of the current lenders listed in the OTIS FastChoice Tool.
4. Submit your Application
If you choose one of the lenders listed in the OTIS FastChoice Tool, complete the application online. Follow your lender’s instructions and call them if you have questions.
5. OTIS will Certify (no action on your part)
Once you have completed the application with your lender, they will send an electronic ‘certification request’ to Otis. The Otis Financial Aid Office will confirm your attendance and certify the amount you are eligible for (taking into account your COA and other financial aid).
6. Check your Otis Self Service
Your financial aid amounts are always available for you to view online in your Otis Self Service.
What is a “co-signer”?
A co-signer is a person who agrees to take on the responsibility for your private student loan debt, should you fail to repay.
Some lenders provide "co-signer release" options that will release your co-signer from responsibility once you are able to qualify for the loan on your own and make a certain number of on-time payments.
An ideal co-signer should have the following qualifications:
• Four to five years of credit history
• A majority of revolving credit remains unused (20% rule)
• No serious derogatory items exist on their credit report
• Steady employment with sufficient income
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Interest rates on private loans can be fixed or variable. Variable rates can increase or decrease over time, depending on the market conditions and the lender
- Loans must be repaid with interest
- Check with your lender regarding repayment options as private loans are not eligible for Federal Loan Consolidation which helps to lower payments
- Even if you qualify for a private loan on your own, consider having a credit worthy co-signer to get a lower interest rate
- Use the loan calculator in the Otis FastChoice Tool to project what your payments will look like in the future (located at the bottom of the page)
- Be sure to review our Overview of Private Loans for more information
- Contact your lender or the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions