Graduate Private Loans

Disclosure on Lender Information

Columbia makes no representations, warranties or guarantees that the financing options presented in this site are the most attractive terms available to any particular student. In addition, please note that Columbia University is not a lender and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, financial planning, or other professional services. Any agreements entered into with the providers whose products are included in this site will exist solely between the provider and the student, and Columbia assumes no obligation or liability in connection with any such agreements. We recommend that you consult with your own expert advisers before making educational financing decisions. In addition, please read the lender disclosure for AY 2014-2015 in relation to the lenders presented in this site. Students and parents have the right and ability to select the education loan provider of their choice, are not required to use any of these suggested lenders and will suffer no penalty for choosing a lender that is not included as a suggested lender. PLEASE NOTE: The terms and conditions of federal student loans or assistance may be more favorable or beneficial than the terms and conditions of private education loans.


Generally, you must:

  • Be a graduate or professional student, or be pursuing post-baccalaureate training or a post-baccalaureate certificate at Columbia University, registered at least part-time
  • Have a valid U.S. Social Security Number
  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident (International students may be eligible for a private loan with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident
  • Complete a loan application with your lender of choice
  • Have a U.S. credit record with no bankruptcies, not be in default on any education loan or owe a refund on an education grant, and meet the applicable credit eligibility requirements.There is a cosigner option for some students that do not meet the credit criteria. We encourage you to read the Good Credit section for more information.


You must complete a promissory note directly with your lender of choice. Check with your school’s financial aid office for information about specific deadlines and to see if they require you to submit a copy of the application to their office.

Borrowing Limits

The student budget or cost of attendance represents the maximum aid you can be awarded through any combination of scholarships, fellowships, federal and private loans certified through Columbia University for the academic year. To determine the maximum amount you can borrow in alternative loans, take the student budget and subtract any other financial aid awards, and the balance is the amount you can borrow in an alternative loan.The minimum loan amount is generally $1,000.

PLEASE NOTE: You should first consider borrowing the full amount(s) for which you are eligible under the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and any institutional loans that you may have been awarded.

Aggregate Borrowing Limits

Each lender has its own policy for aggregate loan limits.Please contact them for more information.

Interest Rate

The interest rate on a private loan will always be variable or floating.Your rate will change every month or quarter depending on your lender of choice. Each lender uses their own pricing models based on either the 3-month LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) or the Prime Rate (as published in the Wall Street Journal) and is based on the strength of your (or your cosigner’s) credit score and history.

Interest accrues from the date of disbursement.Interest can be paid while enrolled or deferred and capitalized at the time of repayment.


Depending on your lender of choice, there are generally no origination or guarantee fees, even for cosigned loans. For more information on fees, contact the lender of choice or your school’s financial aid office.


Private educational loans are disbursed in a variety of ways. Some lenders send checks that are payable directly to the student borrower, others send checks that are co-payable to the student borrower and Columbia University or transmit funds electronically directly into the student’s University account. If the check is made payable directly to you, the student borrower, please contact your school’s financial aid office. If the check is co-payable to you, the student borrower and Columbia University, the check must be endorsed for deposit into your University account.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS vs. Private Education Loans

If you are still trying to decide between a private and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan, below are some things to consider.

You may prefer the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan if you:

  • Like the certainty that a fixed-rate loan provides
  • Your credit is Good, Fair, or Poor; your cost will likely be lower given the current Prime & LIBOR rates
  • Like the protection of greater deferment and forbearance options
  • You prefer repayment incentives that reduce your interest rate to less than the 8.5%
  • Do not mind an initial 3% origination fee
  • Need at least 10 years to repay the loan

You may prefer the Private Education Loan if you:

  • Are comfortable with the possibility of variable interest rates
  • Have Superior credit. You may be charged less interest now
  • Believe there is little possibility that you may use the deferment or forbearance options
  • Plan to borrow the loan only for a short time and plan to repay it quickly

Private Education Loan Disclosures

In accordance with the Truth in Lending Act, students borrowing private education loans must receive three required disclosures from their lender of choice at the following stages of the loan process:

Stage of Disclosure

Sample* Disclosures from the
Department of Education

 1) On or with an application Disclosure 1
 2) After loan approval Disclosure 2
 3) At consummation Disclosure 3

 * These are just samples. Actual disclosures will be provided by your lender of choice.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form

In addition to the three disclosures required by the Truth in Lending Act, all private education loan borrowers must complete a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form and submit the form to their lender of choice before the private loan can be consummated.

PLEASE NOTE: That institutional loan borrowers must also receive the three private education loan disclosures and complete this form.  For more information, please see institutional aid

Suggested Lenders

Suggested Lender Lists for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

Private Loans: Domestic Graduate Students (PDF)

Private Loans: International Graduate Students (PDF)

General information regarding private student loan programs offered by US States (PDF)

Other Lenders

Students and parents have the right and ability to select the education loan provider of their choice, are not required to use any of these suggested lenders and will suffer no penalty for choosing a lender that is not included here as a suggested lender.To find other lenders, you should explore all available options including the world wide web. You may wish to visit such public sites as for additional information on other lenders.