Private Educational Loans
Private Educational Loans, which are not guaranteed by the Federal government, are offered by private lenders to assist student borrowers with educational and living expenses.
We strongly encourage all students to first submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. If no other financial resources are available to bridge the financial gap, you should consider private educational loan options only after exhausting all federal, state, and institutional financial resources.
Private Educational Loans are not need-based; rather, they are based on creditworthiness. Most students will need a creditworthy co-signer, such as a parent or other relative, in order to obtain a private loan. Terms and conditions applicable to these loans vary greatly. Factors such as interest rate, APR, length or repayment, loan minimum and maximum, and fees should be carefully considered when researching and choosing a private loan.
Private educational loans frequently have higher interest rates over the life of the loan as well as less favorable repayment terms than federal educational loans, making them more costly. It is important to keep written records of all forms, applications, and correspondence with your lender, especially regarding discounts and special incentives, for the entire life of your loan(s). You should research all other funding options available before determining if a Private Educational Loan is the right funding source for you.
Choosing a Private Loan Lender
You may choose any lender who offers Private Educational loans. However, it is important that you carefully review your expenses before deciding if you need to use a private loan and the amount needed. Although the basic terms of the loan may be the same, lenders offer a variety of services to students and their families. Please note that private loan program terms are subject to change. We encourage students and their families to review and compare loan benefits between lenders and verify the current terms of any loan you are considering with the lender directly before you commit to borrow.
Private Loan Disclosures
Federal regulations require all private education loan lenders to send three disclosure notices to borrowers and co-signers to ensure borrowers are properly informed regarding the terms and costs of the loan. This process will lengthen the time it takes from applying for a loan until the funds are delivered to Columbia College Chicago. The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requires students to fill out a Self-Certification of Private Loans form. Most lenders will provide this to borrowers. Your Cost of Attendance and Total Aid will be shown on your financial aid award on your MyColumbia portal, under the MyFinancials tab. Click the link below to obtain a form if you do not have the form provided by your lender.
If you do not have the form provided by your lender, you can download the Self-Certification Award Form.
2023-24 Loan Term Dates
Fall/Spring (recommended): September 5, 2023 to May 10, 2024
Fall only: September 5, 2023 to December 16, 2023
Spring only: January 22, 2024 to May 10, 2024
Summer only: May 28, 2024 to August 17, 2024
2022-23 Loan Term Dates
Fall/Spring (recommended): September 6, 2022 to May 12, 2023
Fall only: September 6, 2022 to December 17, 2022
Spring only: January 23, 2023 to May 12, 2023
Summer only: May 30, 2023 to August 19, 2023
Processing time will take from 20 to 30 days from application to disbursement due to Truth in Lending regulations.
Fall/Spring loans are disbursed half in each semester.
Plan your annual financial needs and complete the loan process by August 1.