These loans are not through the federal government. Most private loans offer a variable or fixed interest rate and may recommend or require that the student obtain a creditworthy co-signer to be approved. Concordia College encourages all families to take advantage of eligible federal loan programs before pursuing a private loan.
Loan approval on private loans is based on creditworthiness. The credit check process is based on the creditworthiness of the borrower and co-signer. This loan may have a debt-to-income ratio requirement and may require borrowers or co-signers to submit income verification or documentation.
Loan approval requires that a lender pull a credit report. If you are comparing rates between lenders, it is important that you do this in a short timeframe, generally under 30 days, to avoid the multiple credit hits having a negative impact on your credit report.
- Select an individual who you are close to and who is also financially stable. Many people will ask their immediate family members, like a mom or dad. Some people will ask extended family members, close friends, or even trusted colleagues who are supportive of your higher education goals.
- Review the reasons for needing the loan. Talk with the potential co-signer about your academic and career plans. Review the cost of attending and review other sources of financial aid, such as scholarships and grants, as well as sources of cash from savings or from income that you have already exhausted.
- Ensure that you have exhausted all other federal loan options. Your maximum federal student loan options will be offered to you at the time you are awarded. Your potential co-signer may want to know that you have exhausted all of these options that you can take in your name only.
- Review the loan amount. Discuss the loan amount with your potential co-signer and make sure they are ok with that amount. Think about if the amount seems too high or too low? Adjust where appropriate, and remember that borrowing less, whenever possible, is always a good decision.
- Make sure the potential co-signer understands what is expected of them. Run some numbers to get a feel for what the monthly payments. Remember to account for additional borrowing over multiple years. Make sure your co-signer understands that they are responsible for this loan along with you. Remember that if you don't make a payment that they will become responsible for the repayment of this loan. If payments on this loan are late or not made, this can impact the co-signer's as well as the borrower's credit.
- Discuss when payments will start. Many private student loans begin repayment six months after leaving school. You may wish to contact the co-signer the month prior to when repayment begins to discuss your repayment plans. You can view repayment and grace period information for individual private loans on our list of lenders.
- Complete the loan application together. Co-signers may feel more invested and comfortable in the process if they participate in the application process either online or via phone with you.
- Talk about the potential of a co-signer release, if applicable. Some private student loans still offer co-signer release options. For instance, some co-signers may be released from the financial responsibility of a loan if the borrower has successfully completed school and made 12-48 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments. You can see a comparison of lenders that may have this option by viewing the loan details on our list of lenders. Make certain you confirm the terms and conditions of the release with the lender.
Interest Rates and Fees
Interest rates and loan fees vary from lender to lender. These rates and fees may be determined by the creditworthiness of the borrower and co-borrower.
During the application process, borrowers will now be given several disclosures providing them information on what rates are available with that lender and disclosures on what your actual interest rate and fees will be. Borrowers and co-borrowers (in some cases) will be asked to sign a loan approval disclosure that indicates the loan rate and fees (if applicable) that a borrower qualifies for verifying that the borrower understands and agrees with the terms of the loan they are taking.
Per Year Maximum
Total cost of attendance minus students' other financial aid. Example: A standard cost of attendance for an on-campus student in 2023-2024 is $46,200. If the student receives $20,000 in financial aid including federal loans, the student would be eligible for the difference of $26,200 in a private loan. The lender will ask the borrower to complete and return a Self-Certification Form as part of the private loan process.
Repayment length and terms vary per lender. Interest accrues while a student is in school. Some programs require students to make minimum monthly payments or interest-only payments while in school. If payments are deferred while a student is in school, make sure to contact the lender to determine when payments will begin after you graduate or leave school.
List of Lenders
Concordia College maintains a list of private loan lenders as a service to students. Students are free to select a private loan program that is not on this list. If a student chooses to borrow from a private loan program, the choice of a lender or loan program is entirely the choice of the student. If a student chooses to use a loan program that is not on Concordia’s list of lenders, we will process the loan in the same time frame as we would for the loan programs on Concordia's list of lenders.
A lender will ask the student to provide the loan period. This is the term (semester) that they wish to borrow the loan for. It is recommended that students apply for fall and spring term as one loan that will be split equally between the terms. If, however, a student needs uneven amounts for fall and spring, they will need to apply separately for each term. It is important that you use the correct dates for the term in which you are applying. Entering incorrect dates could result in a student needing to reapply for the loan with the correct term dates.