Private Student Loans

Private student loans (also known as alternative loans) are student loans offered by private lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other private organizations. Private student loans can usually be offered to U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, and international students.

The Law Financial Aid Office suggests that students who plan to borrow private student loans carefully compare their options against federal student loans. Federal student loans provide fixed interest rates, multiple repayment options (including options based on income), cancellation provisions, deferments, and forbearances. Private student loans may not offer these same options. Private student loans are also NOT eligible for the Law School's Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). Students are encouraged to review more information about the differences between federal and private student loans on the Federal Student Aid website or to contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss further.

The University of Chicago does not have a preferred-lender listing for private student loans. We recognize that you have many choices when contemplating a private loan. You should choose a lender that best meets your needs and requirements in financing your graduate education. An online search for private student loans will yield a variety of private lender options for you to research and learn more about. You may choose any lender that best meets your needs and requirements in financing your graduate education, as long as you meet the lender's eligibility criteria. The Law Financial Aid Office does not endorse or promote any private lender and will process a private loan application from any lender selected as long as the student is eligible for the loan. The Financial Aid Office cannot coordinate your application with your lender or find eligible cosigners; our only role in the process is to certify your enrollment eligibility and schedule disbursement of your loan funding.

The maximum a student may borrow from a private lender is the difference between the cost of attendance and the student's other financial assistance, including scholarships and any federal student loan funds. 

How to Apply

We encourage students using private student loan funding to complete all of the below steps by the August 1st prior to the start of the applicable academic year (or six weeks prior to the start of the applicable quarter, if using private student loan funding for a single quarter).

  • Step 1: Review lenders and terms, and choose a lender and loan product
  • Step 2: Complete a loan application directly with the lender of your choice
  • Step 3: Complete a Private Education Loan Application Self-Certification and return it to your respective lender
  • Step 4: Complete the Private Loan Request Form, available on our Forms webpage, and upload it to the Law School's Financial Aid Office via my.UChicago 

The Law School's Financial Aid Office will process private student loan funding with the lender and apply the loan to the student's financial aid package. Most private student loan funds are sent to the University via an electronic disbursement method on the first day of the applicable quarter and applied directly to your student account. If a private lender sends funds to the University via a paper check made out to the student, the Bursar will contact the student about next steps.