(Alternative Loans)

After exhausting the opportunities available from the federal aid programs, many students will consider private education loans as a source of additional funding.  A private education loan is a non-federal loan issued by a private lender, such as a bank or credit union. Private education loans often have variable interest rates, require a credit check, have varied repayment options, and do not provide the same benefits as federal student loans. Families may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received.

If you determine that you need a private education loan to help pay for your educational expenses, you should carefully research and compare the options from different lenders and select the lender that best suits your needs. UNI does not endorse a specific lender and you may decide to borrow from any lender you choose, including those not on our historical lender list.

Items to Consider When Choosing a Private Loan

  • Cosigner Release option
  • Interest Rate
  • Fixed or variable interest rate
  • Origination fee
  • Repayment length
  • In-school deferment
  • Loan forgiveness
  • Death and disability benefits

Private Education Loan Timeline

  • Research 2-4 private loans to choose the best loan option
  • Once approved, schedule your private education loan counseling appointment
  • Bring the following to your appointment: Lender, Amount applied for, Origination fee, Interest rate, and whether it is fixed or variable
  • After your appointment, UNI will certify the loan with your lender
  • 8-10 business days after your appointment, the private loan will be added to your financial aid package and will disburse to your U-bill

Historical Lender List

Our historical lender list of private education loan providers is comprised of lenders our students have borrowed from over the past three years, and that still offer private education loans to students attending the University of Northern Iowa.

As part of the application process, students will be required to complete the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form (PDF), which is also available through their lender's website. The Self-Certification Form should be turned in to the lender, NOT the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships. Information needed to complete this form, such as cost of attendance, may be obtained on our website: Tuition and Fees, while estimated financial assistance may be obtained from the student’s Financial Aid Award Letter.

Student sitting at a table, looking at a laptop

Private Loan Counseling

We require students to meet with a financial aid counselor in our office to discuss your private loan needs before we will certify (approve) your eligibility to the lender. A Private Loan Worksheet (PDF) is available to assist students when considering a private loan.