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Private Education Loans

A private student loan is a credit-based loan for college that can help bridge the gap between the actual cost of attendance and other financial aid received. These loans are issued by private lending institutions, such as banks and credit unions. Applications must be submitted with the lender, credit criteria met and other requirements met as requested by the lender.

Private loans are not federally insured. Since federal loans typically are less expensive than and offer better terms than private loans, students should exhaust their eligibility for federal loans before resorting to private loans. Private loans must be added to a student’s financial aid offer, and cannot exceed a student’s cost of attendance. There are private loans available to both students and parents. 

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

 Private Student LoanFederal Student Loan
Lender Bank, credit union, financial institution, state agency or college/university U.S. Department of Education
FAFSA Required? No Yes
Interested Rate Type Fixed and variable options available. Fixed
Rates based on Credit Criteria? Yes No
Cosigner Required? Yes, unless borrower has strong credit history No*
Payment Plans Varies by lender. Some lenders may offer multiple options. Multiple plans (including income-driven) available.
Forbearance Options Varies by lender. Typically, one year. Three years

Whitworth has compiled a list of lenders from whom Whitworth students/parents have borrowed in the past three years. You may select ANY lender you wish, whether it is on this list or not. You can access this list, through the FASTChoice website, and compare these lenders here:


Application and Disbursement Process:

  • Student applies directly with the lender of their choice, typically online.
  • If approved by the lender, the lender will send an electronic request to the Whitworth Financial Aid Office to certify the loan. Then the loan will be added to the student’s financial aid offer.
  • The loan will be scheduled to disburse according to the number of terms the loan is based on. The funds will transfer to the student’s Whitworth account at the beginning of the term, or if the term has already begun, about two weeks after it has been certified by Whitworth. (If you are considering an alternative private loan for a study-abroad program, please consult with your financial aid advisor regarding disbursement options.)

All private lenders will require you to submit a completed Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form in order for them to process your loan application. Most lenders will provide their borrowers with their own form. However, if you find you need one, please print this Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form, complete it and forward it to your lender.