Most banks and credit unions offer private educational loans, however it’s not our practice at Bellevue College to recommend these unless you’ve exhausted all other options. You should always start by applying for federal financial aid to verify what you’re eligible for before seeking private loans.
Tip Private loans are credit-based and usually cost more than the loans available from the federal government under the Direct Stafford Loan program.
If you do decide to pursue a private student loan, you’ll need to contact your chosen bank or credit union and see what is required from them to receive a loan. Once approved, the lender will notify the college. Contact your bank or credit union or the Financial Aid Office for assistance.
After you have applied with your lender, check with the Financial Aid office for current processing time. You should expect processing to take approximately 90+ days before funds are available.
What’s involved in applying for a private loan
Here’s a general idea of the type of information you’ll probably need to provide to your private lender if you choose to explore a private student loan. Gather your information before you start.
- Current address and phone number.
- Social Security number.
- Driver’s license number.
- Employment information (if applicable).
- Personal reference (name and contact information).
- Find a cosigner. Most applicants will need to apply with a cosigner.
- Apply to the private loan lender that you choose. Research this carefully to find the best interest rates and terms.
- Review your application disclosure to find general information about your loan.
- Have your cosigner apply.
- Watch for an e-mail or letter from your lender with instructions on next steps for your application.
- Complete the Private Education Applicant Self-Certification. We provide a copy for you from this page and you’ll probably receive this via e-mail, U.S. mail or possibly both. Return it to your private loan lender. You can get the financial information needed to complete the form from BC Financial Aid office.
- Watch for an e-mail or a letter or possibly both requesting a signed consumer credit agreement.
- Read your approval disclosure.
The lender will automatically contact Financial Aid office (for most loans) to verify that you need money to pay for tuition and other education-related expenses.
Watch for the final disclosure via U.S. mail, which gives you information on how to cancel the loan and provides updated cost information. The lender will send the money either to you or your BC or (if you’re attending a school different than BC) your school’s financial aid office, depending on the type of loan.
Last Updated October 20, 2015