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Private student loans are credit-based loans that must be certified by your school’s financial aid office. They are offered by banks, schools and education loan organizations, and should be used only when federal loans, grants and other forms of financial aid aren’t enough to cover the full cost of education. Interest rates and fees, if applicable, are determined by the lender.
To determine your eligibility for a private student loan, your school may require you to complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). A creditworthy co-signer may help you get approved and qualify you for a better interest rate or lower fees.
Federal loans are the largest source of student lending available and offer low fixed-interest rates, flexible repayment and deferment options, interest-rate discounts and more. The completion of the FAFSA is required. You should exhaust federal student loan options before applying for a private loan.
Remember, both federal and private student loans must be repaid even if you don’t finish school or aren’t happy with the education you received.