Private Student Loans

Have you exhausted your maximum borrowing eligibility through the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, as well as considered the Parent PLUS Loan? If so, you may want to consider a private student loan through a non-federal loan program.

The student is the borrower for private loans; however, in almost all cases, a credit-worthy cosigner is required. Having a credit-worthy cosigner will also likely reduce the cost of the loan (interest rate). Please be aware that the cosigner is fully responsible for repaying the loan should the borrower stop making payments. Most private loan products offer a cosigner release option after a specified number of on-time payments are made and the borrower is credit-worthy.

The Financial Aid Office strongly encourages you to borrow the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans first and then consider the Federal Direct PLUS Loan before applying for a private student loan. The interest rate and repayment terms may be more favorable than those of private loans.

The borrower and/or cosigner are responsible for repaying these loans. For a sample repayment schedule, contact the lender of your private student loan.

LVC’s Recommendations for Private Student Loans: ELM Select

The loan products included on this site are recommended by LVC by undergoing a Request for Information (RFI) process. This process is completed every 2 to 3 years to determine who should be listed on our recommended lender list. Information is requested from 10-12 lenders, which is then reviewed to narrow the list down to what we deem as the top 4 to 5. The following criteria are reviewed and evaluated for each lender:

  • Competitive Interest Rates and fees
  • Flexible Repayment Options
  • Cosigner release option and the time frame for it to be considered
  • Monetary back-end benefits

Please be aware that you are not required to borrow from any of the lenders on our list.  You are free to conduct your own research and comparison of private loan products and select any lender of your choice.

Below is a list of lenders included on LVC’s customized ELM Select website along with information each lender is required to share with potential student borrowers. To compare loans among these lenders, please visit LVC’s ELM Select webpage.

New students: you should NOT apply for a private student loan prior to April 15 for the upcoming academic year. Filing prior to this date may result in your credit approval expiring.

Returning students: you should NOT apply for a private student loan prior to receiving your financial aid offer in early July and no later than August 1.

If you need to borrow a private loan and you will be enrolled for less than 6 credits during a semester, you may borrow through PA Forward, Sallie Mae, Nelnet, or Discover. The other lenders LVC recommends require you to be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits per semester.

During the application process, the lender will request you to complete the Applicant Self-Certification Form. In addition to demographic information, there are two pieces of information needed to complete the form. Both may be found within your financial aid offer:

  1. Student Cost of Attendance – found on your financial aid offer letter (at the top)
  2. Estimated Financial Assistance – found on the financial aid offer letter and identified as the “Grand Total”

Please return this form to your lender. LVC does not collect or process this form.


Wells Fargo exited the private student loan business on January 28, 2021.