Undergraduate 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 advisors 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.

Eligibility for Private Loans

Generally, you must:

  • Be a an undergraduate student registered at Columbia University 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 who do not meet the credit criteria. We encourage you to read the Good Credit section for more information.


You must contact your lender of choice for the application process. Check with your School 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: Before applying for private or alternative loans, you should first consider borrowing the full amount for which you are eligible under the Federal Direct Loan program and any institutional loans.

Aggregate Borrowing Limits

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

Interest Rate for Private Loans

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. 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.


There are no origination or guarantee fees, even for cosigned loans. For more information on fees, contact the lender or your School 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 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.

Suggested Lenders

Suggested Lender List for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

Private Loans: Domestic Undergraduate Students (PDF)

Private Loans: International Undergraduate 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 www.Finaid.org for additional information on other lenders.