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Northwestern University

Private Loans

A number of private outside agencies offer students alternative sources for financing their education. Unlike federal loans, the terms of private loans are set by the individual lenders. The interest rate and fees are determined by your credit history, your debt-to-income ratio and that of your co-signer. The interest rates for private educational loans are variable and are most often based on a range using Prime or the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) as a base and add an additional percentage based on the borrower's credit. The current Prime and LIBOR rates are available at the Federal Reserve Statistical Release.

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:

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.


The loan programs and lenders listed here are provided to help you start your research. You are not required to only borrow from these options. The lenders included in this lender information were selected via a Request for Information (RFI) process. Any lender providing student loan programs was eligible to submit an RFI.

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.

Loans for Special Circumstances

Some lenders provide loans to students with special circumstances:

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