Private loans are non-federal education loans offered by a lender such as a bank or credit union. Students should consider applying for a private loan only after exhausting all other possible sources of funds. Fewer than 2% of Bryn Mawr degree seeking undergraduates borrowed a private loan during the 2015-16 school year. Private loans often have variable interest rates, require a credit check, and may have less attractive repayment plans than federal loans. Many lenders require a credit- worthy co-signer. In general, students may borrow up to the cost of education minus all other financial aid receive. Students who choose to borrow a private loan must select a lender of their choice and complete the lender’s application process. A list of private lenders used by Bryn Mawr students over the past three years is posted below:

Here are some questions you should consider before applying for an alternative loan.

  • Have you maximized your Federal Student Loans? Alternative loans may carry higher and more malleable (variable) interest rates than federal loans. Some interest rates can change as frequently as once a month on alternative loans, whereas a federal loan has a fixed interest rate.

  • Dependent Students: Have your parents considered taking out a Federal PLUS Loan? A PLUS loan, has a fixed interest rate and payment can be deferred Were your parents denied a PLUS loan? If your parents apply for a PLUS loanand are denied, you may be eligible for an increased amount of Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. See Loan Limits and Terms.

  • Have you sought any scholarships that might offset your educational costs? Scholarships represent grant money – money that you do not have to pay back to an institution. Applying for scholarships as you enter the college search process is a good way of taking care of excess expenses, such as tuition that remains to be paid after Federal Loans and Grants along with institutional aid have been maxed out.

  • Please consider the option of allowing the College to receive your loan funds via Electronic Transfer of Funds (EFT), as it will ease disbursement, and allow you to access your funds quickly.

If you choose to borrow an alternative loan to pay for college, then make sure you are well prepared. Below are a few questions to consider when choosing an alternative lender:

  • What is the interest rate? Keep in mind that this can change.

  • Is a co-signer/co-borrower required? Even if one is not, having someone such as a parent co-sign/co-borrow your loan with you can lower interest rates and application fees.

  • Are there application fees?

    If you have decided on taking out an alternative loan and have prepared questions, the next step is to choose a lender. Below you will find a list of lenders used by Bryn Mawr students over the past three years: