A Few Words about Choosing a Private Educational Loan Lender…

After exhausting all opportunities available from the federal and state aid programs, many parents and students will consider private loan programs as a source of funding. As always, taking on debt for any reason should be done deliberately and only for the amounts needed. If you plan to borrow a Private Educational Loan, you will need to select a lender. The lender is the institution from which the money is actually borrowed.

All lenders are not the same. It pays to make an informed decision when selecting a lender. You will be entering into a long-term relationship with the institution. Reasons for selection of a particular lender vary from person to person. Some choose based on name or brand recognition or reputation. Others prefer the immediate benefit of below-market processing fees. Still others are interested in borrower benefits in repayment, like an interest rate reduction as a reward for making consecutive on-time payments. We encourage families to use the lender and the loan product that best meets their needs.

Important Reminder: Before considering a private loan, make sure that you have taken advantage of all other opportunities including any payment plan or federal student loan. If you would like more information on the payment plan, please contact Student Accounts. If you are unsure about your federal loan options, please contact our office.

You should carefully review your expenses before deciding if you need a private loan. If you decide to borrow, you will need to choose a lender and complete the application process. Most lenders offer online and/or phone applications. In general, the lender will run a credit check before it agrees to offer you a loan. Many student borrowers are required to have a credit-worthy co-signer. Most lenders distribute private loan funds electronically. In some instances, however, a lender may provide you with a paper check that you must endorse at the Student Billing Office.

  • Alternative loans usually require a credit-worthy co-signer.
  • Interest rates are variable and generally the interest begins to accrue from the date of the disbursement.
  • Repayment begins after the student graduates or ceases to enroll – however, you may be expected to make interest only payments while in school. They are not guaranteed by the federal government and should only be considered after all resources available from the federal, state and institutional grant and loan programs have been exhausted.
  • The terms and conditions of these loans will vary and students have the right to select the alternative loan of their choice.

Potential Questions to Ask Your Lender

  • Who do I contact when I have a question or a problem about my loan?
  • What are the current interest rates and how often do these rates fluctuate? Is there an interest rate cap?
  • Are there any fee reductions, interest reductions, or other incentives offered during the life of the loan? Examples include reductions by setting up automatic payments or being a member of the bank.
  • Can by co-signer be released from this loan after a certain period of time?
  • When do I start to repay my loan and how long do I have to pay it off? When are late charges assessed and how much are these charges?
  • How is the interest on my loan capitalized – quarterly, annually, or only at repayment?
  • What are the repayment terms?
  • Are there any penalties for pre-payments, late payments or any other reason?

How to Apply: To assist students and parents in this decision, Centenary University provides the following list of lenders that other Centenary University students have used in the past few years. This list, which is intended only as a guide, is provided to help students and parents choose a reputable lender with a reliable educational loan product. Please note you are not required to use one of these lenders and may apply for a private education loan with any lender that you choose.



PNC Bank

Sallie Mae



Please note that only the NJ  CLASS Loan and the Sallie Mae – Smart Option Student Loan are available for past balances of up to 365 days or 1 year. In addition, the Sallie Mae – Smart Option Student Loan is also available to students who are in a non-degree program.

As part of the application process, students will be required to complete the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form available through their lender’s website.

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