Private Education Loan Programs
Students and their families can borrow additional loan funds to assist in financing any gap that may exist between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid received. These private education loans are provided by commercial lenders and are not supported by state or federal financial aid funds. A private education loan is typically issued in the student’s name and most often requires a credit worthy cosigner, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Additionally, students must normally be at least 18 years of age. Students should compare interest rates, fees, and repayment options such as deferment and forbearance. Maximum loan amounts, loan terms, borrower qualification, repayment schedules, and interest rates vary among lenders. Some private education loans may require interest payments while the student is enrolled in school.
Students are strongly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal and state aid including Federal Pell grants, Federal Direct Student Loans, and other federally funded campus need and/or merit based aid. Federal Direct Loans may have terms and conditions that may be more favorable than the terms and conditions of private education loans such as loan forgiveness options for certain professional commitments and loan discharges due to total and permanent disability and death. Parents of dependent students and graduate students may also apply for Federal Direct Parent PLUS or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans.
Private Education Loan Considerations
Students have the right to select the private education lender of his/her choice. Neither the University of Pittsburgh nor the Financial Aid Office endorses, recommends, or promotes any specific lenders or their products. A private education loan is an agreement between the borrower, co-signer (if any), and the lender. The University of Pittsburgh cannot be held liable if the borrower is dissatisfied with interest rates, other terms, and/or service provided by the lender.
Students should begin applying within 90 days of the start of the semester. Students who need to borrow for both the fall and spring semesters are encouraged to complete their loan application for the year instead of taking out a separate loan for each term. Below are the term dates for 2016-2017 necessary to complete the loan application.
Fall 2016/Spring 2017: August 29, 2016 – April 29, 2017
Fall 2016: August 29, 2016 – December 17, 2016
Spring 2017: January 3, 2017 – April 29, 2017
Summer 2017: May 8, 2017 – August 12, 2017
Students who decide to borrow private education loans must complete a Self-Certification Form. Your lender will provide you with the Self-Certification form, including instructions for completion. The Self-Certification form should be returned to the lender from whom you are borrowing. Although this form should have been provided to you by the private lender, you can click here if you need another copy of a Self-Certification form.
Students will be asked to provide the Cost of Attendance on the Self-Certification form. Students can view Tuition and Mandatory Fees on the Institutional Research website. Housing accommodations range from single rooms to quadruple suites, and room charges vary accordingly. Visit the Housing website for cost information. As with housing, there are many dining options for students. Information for various meal plans can be found at Dining Services. We recommend you budget around $3,296 for book allowance, transportation and miscellaneous expenses.
Finally, students will also be asked to provide a total for Estimated Financial Assistance. Students can view their information by logging on to My Pitt and going to Student Center. Click on View Financial Aid and then on the appropriate financial aid year. Details of the total financial aid awarded to the student can be seen.
Disbursement of Private Education Loan Funds
Per the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) regulations, lenders are required to provide borrowers with a three business day right-to-cancel period after the final disclosure of a private student loan. In addition, lenders are required to add an additional three business days for a borrower to receive the final disclosure. In most cases the disbursement process, which in itself may be another three day process, will begin on the eighth day. Borrowers should keep this timeline in mind if they are planning to use loan proceeds for other educational purposes.
The websites listed below will guide you through the maze of private education loans to help you determine what options are best for you. Please click the link of the campus or school you are planning to attend for more information and instructions. Again, students and their families may choose a Private Education Lender of their choice.