Private loans are credit-based loans offered by banks or credit unions to help families bridge the gap between the financial aid package they receive and the total cost of college/university. These loans are borrowed by the student but generally require a parent co-signer.

Additionally, private loans:

  • can have fixed or variable interest rates
  • accrue interest while you are enrolled in school
  • may require repayment while you are still in college/university
  • usually require a co-signer

Tips and recommendations

  1. Before considering a private loan, make sure all federal, state and institutional financial resources have been exhausted.
  2. Compare federal loans at the Federal Student Aid website
  3. Compare private loans
  4. Borrow only the minimum amount needed for the upcoming school year, minus scholarships, grants, student loans, family contribution from income and savings, and any other aid sources.
  5. Avoid lenders that do not require Calvin certification on their loan application.
  6. Be suspicious of unsolicited loan offers.

Choosing a private lender

While federal student loans should be your first choice, some students also choose to borrow from private lenders. Calvin has selected the following list of private lenders through a Request for Information (RFI) process to identify loans with borrower benefits such as competitive rates and good customer service.

You are welcome to borrow funds from the private lender of your choice regardless of their inclusion on this page. No matter who you choose, we highly recommend you compare and research your options ahead of time to find the best fit for you and your family. Along the way, we'll be happy to answer any questions or provide information as much as we're able.

If you are interested in applying for private loans we recommend you do so no more than 90 days prior to the start of the enrollment period.