Students are encouraged to consider all federal loan options before applying for a private loan. Federal loans generally have better benefits and fixed interest rates. See the Department of Education’s Federal Aid First site for more information. You can also contact our office if you have questions.
Individual lenders set the terms of private loans. Your credit history, co-signer, and debt-to-income ratio will influence interest rates, which can be either fixed or variable.
Questions you should ask a potential lender:
- How soon will I enter repayment? Are interest-only payments required during enrollment?
- How often is the interest capitalized? (The frequency of capitalization will increase the total loan amount that you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal loan.)
- If I use a co-signer, can I receive a better rate? Is a co-signer release available?
- How will the rate formula (interest and fees charged) change in repayment?
- What will my monthly payment be on this loan amount when I am in repayment?
- What kind of borrower benefits does the lender offer? (interest rate reductions with automatic withdrawals, principle reduction with a certain number of on-time payments, etc.)
Northwestern University's Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid adheres to the Code of Conduct as established by the Higher Education Opportunity Act as well as the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' (NASFAA) Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals. View Northwestern’s Financial Aid Code of Conduct Policy.
Your private education lender will require you to complete a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form. You should use the version the lender provides as it may contain pre-populated information, but you may use this version if your lender does not provide you with one.
We chose to list the lenders below based on a review of competitive interest rates and fees, quality of servicing, and borrower benefits. Please contact the lender directly for more information. The links below include lender contact information and the lenders’ application and solicitation disclosures.
- Citizens One
- Discover Student Loans
- NU Loan for Parents
- PNC Bank
- Sallie Mae
- Union Federal
- Wells Fargo
Loans for Special Circumstances
Some lenders provide loans to students with special circumstances:
- International students (with U.S. cosigner): Citizens One, Discover Student Loans, Sallie Mae, Union Federal, Wells Fargo
- International students (without U.S. cosigner): MPOWER
- Half-time students: Citizens One, Discover Student Loans, Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo
- Less than half-time students: Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo
- Non-degree-seeking students: Sallie Mae, PNC Bank
- Loans to cover recent past-due balances: Citizens One, PNC Bank, Sallie Mae, SunTrust, Union Federal, Wells Fargo