Private Loans


Private (alternative) loans are nonfederal loans, made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency or other entity.

Although the lender is not the government, these loans are regulated and there are rules the Financial Aid Office must follow in administering these loans. Most importantly, you cannot receive more aid (including Federal and Private Loans) than the school's official cost of attendance.

How are private loans and federal student loans different?

The terms and conditions for private loans are set by the lender, not the federal government. While private loans have less regulations and academic requirements, most private loans require a credit check to be approved. Lenders may also require a cosigner in order to approve a loan or provide the best interest rate possible.

For federal student loans repayment is delayed while you are in school, and you may qualify for income based repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. Most private loans do not offer income-based repayment. Some alternative education loans may require payments while you are still in school.

Is a private loan right for me?

A private loan may make sense for you if you are unable to qualify for federal student aid (which includes federal loans). Before accepting private loans, you should diligently explore scholarships and other funding sources. You can learn about additional ways to cover educational costs on our Ways to Pay page.

How much can I borrow?

Private student lenders will approve you for the maximum amount they are willing to lend you. However, the amount you can ultimately borrow is limited by the official Cost of Attendance for the school you enroll at. The combined amount of your financial aid, scholarships, and loans cannot exceed the cost of attendance.

Where can I get a private loan?

Santa Fe College is not permitted to recommend any specific lender for private education loans. If you feel that a private loan may be best for you, FastChoice is an online, lender-neutral platform that displays a list of lenders and education loan products that students can use. These lenders have not been ranked, and are presented in no particular order.

How does the private loan process work at Santa Fe College?

  1. Application: a student must apply and be approved for a loan by a lender. This will require a credit check. A cosigner may be required if the applicant has limited or poor credit history. Even with a cosigner, approval is not guaranteed.
  2. Certification: Santa Fe College must certify the amount of the loan. The lender submits the approved application to the processor that handles private educational loans for Santa Fe College. The processor sends the Financial Aid Office the loan information. The office reviews the loan, the student's other aid, and the cost of attendance to determine how much of the loan can be used within Federal rules. This information is transmitted back to the processor.
  3. Loan Posted to Account: The loan amounts available to the student for each semester will be posted under Awards on your financial aid portal. Once the loan is posted your tuition and fees will be deferred, assuming the loan amount is more than those charges. If additional funds are available you may setup a book store line of credit to charge textbooks and supplies against your loan funds.
  4. Disbursement: After tuition, fees, and book charges are deducted, any remaining loan funds will be refunded to you. Remember to select your preferred method to receiving your refund by selecting Manage Refunds under the Finances menu in eSantaFe. The disbursement of your refund occurs after the semester has begun based on the disbursement calendar. This calendar reflects estimated dates. Some financial aid files are more complicated and require more processing time. Many times private loans disbursements begin later while the Financial Aid Office waits to receive the funds from our processor.