Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. If you need to look up a term or acronym, use our glossary.

What is the difference between federal and private student loans?

Federal student loans are available through the US Department of Education, feature fixed interest rates and offer several repayment options. Private student loans are education loans offered by banks or other lenders, are credit-based and have fixed or variable interest rates.

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What is the difference between certified and non-certified private student loans?

A certified private loan is one in which your school verifies the amount you should borrow and tells the lender when to disburse funds. This helps ensure you borrow only what you need and do not accrue interest months before tuition is due. And, the interest paid on a certified private loan is usually tax deductible. Non-certified loans, which are not verified with your school, typically have higher interest rates and may not be tax deductible.

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What are the advantages of applying for a private student loan with a creditworthy cosigner?

While you may apply on your own, most undergraduate students will need to apply with a creditworthy cosigner to meet our eligibility requirements, which include but are not limited to an established and satisfactory credit history. Even if you meet our requirements, you may still want to consider applying with a cosigner who has a stronger credit history and income to help you qualify for a lower interest rate.

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What is the FAFSA form?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form determines your eligibility for Pell Grants, Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and other types of federal financial aid. A FAFSA form must be completed each year that you wish to be considered for financial aid. We recommend you complete the FAFSA every year, even if you do not think you qualify for federal aid. You can apply online and a complete list of items you need to have ready is available at FAFSA on the Web.

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Where can I find information on federal financial aid?

The US Department of Education's Student Aid on the Web and FAFSA on the Web are packed with valuable information. Another great source of information is your school's website and financial aid office.

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