You should exhaust all federal financing aid program options before pursuing other private educational loans as federal loan programs provide better opportunities with fewer risks. While it may be necessary to use private loans to finance your college education, please carefully consider some of these key differences between federal loans and private loans:
- Unlike federal student loans, private loans are not guaranteed by the federal government.
- Qualifying criteria and credit standards for federal loans tend to be less stringent than those for private loans.
- Interest rates are fixed with federal loans. Interest rates and fees charged by private lenders have no limits and are based upon many variables, including, but not limited to, the strength of the loan co-signer and the use of primary or LIBOR rates in calculating interest.
- The interest on subsidized federal loans does not accrue while you are in school full time. Private loan interest accrues once the loan has been disbursed.
- Federal loan repayment options allow for deferment, graduated and income-based payment plans as well as a public service loan forgiveness opportunities. Private loan plans only offer deferment and extended repayment periods.
If private loans are an option you would like to exercise, the Office of Student Financial Services has compiled a list of preferred private lenders. We believe that each of these preferred lenders provide excellent customer service and borrower benefits, competitive interest rates, are committed to full electronic loan processing and are popular with current borrowers. While you are not obligated to use one of the lenders on this list, we recommend that you do. The choice of lender(s) is yours to make. You are not required to use a preferred lender, nor will Ithaca College penalize you should you choose a different lender.
Should you decide to seek a private loan, it is extremely important that you begin the alternative loan application process in a timely manner. If you wish to have a loan recognized on your billing statement, Ithaca College requires an official loan approval and request for certification directly from the individual lender. During peak processing periods, you should plan for a minimum application processing time of thirty (30) days. Please plan accordingly.