Private Student Loans

If federal aid, along with scholarships, state grants, tuition waivers and personal savings is not enough to cover your educational expenses, you may wish to consider borrowing a private student loan. Below you will find information which should help guide you through the process of deciding if a private student loan is right for you.

What are Private Student Loans?

Private student loans are non-federal, interest-bearing loans through private lenders. Approval is not guaranteed and the student may need a co-signer with good credit to apply. There are a variety of private student loans available and it’s up to the student and co-signer to choose the one that is best for them.

Who is eligibile?

Private student loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students. Lender requirements may vary; contact the lender directly for all eligibility requirements.

How much can I apply for?

Instead of asking "How much can I apply for?" consider how much you really need. The answer to this questions is going to be different for each student based on your cost to attend NDSU (tuition, room and board, books, etc.) and the financial aid you are already receiving. Students should only borrow what is necessary to cover college costs. There is a maximum amount students are allowed to apply for; below are the steps to determine what the maximum private loan amount is for the academic year (fall/spring) and summer semester.

  1. Log into Campus Connection.
    • NOTE - You must complete the NDSU New Student Setup to activate your User ID, or you will be unable to log into Campus Connection. Follow the step-by-step instructions to activate your Campus Connection User ID. The normal format for this ID is firstname.lastname. If you are unsure whether or not you have claimed your User ID, check through the Have I Claimed My Account page.
    • If you have previously attended another North Dakota University System (NDUS) institution you may already have an existing Campus Connection User ID. Please continue using this existing User ID to access Campus Connection at NDSU.
    • If you experience problems or have questions about your System ID, please call the N.D. University System Help Desk at 866-457-6387 or submit a Help Desk ticket:
  2. Click on the Financial Aid tile
  3. Click Financial Aid Summary on the left side bar
  4. Select Academic Year or Summer at the top of the page
  5. Subtract Total Aid from Estimated Cost of Attendance to determine the maximum private loan amount you are eligible to borrow for either the Academic Year (fall/spring) or Summer. If this amount is not enough to cover your expenses, you may want to consider applying for a Budget Increase.
    • Example: The student has a Estimated Cost of Attendance for the Academic Year of $23,868 and Total Aid of $10,895 which means the maximum private loan amount they could borrow is $12,973.

Note: Look back loans (loans used to cover balances due for a semester that has ended) can only be approved for the balance due at NDSU.

FastChoice (Private Student Loan Comparison and Application Tool): APPLY HERE

NDSU offers an online loan comparison tool for you to use called FastChoice. FastChoice is designed to assist you in making the education loan choice that is best for you. FastChoice is not a lender. Select the link for Parent - Private Loan Options to view only parent loans. Please keep in mind that you may select any lender of your choice, even if they do not appear on FastChoice.

Enter FastChoice

Please note: NDSU Financial Aid and Scholarships and its staff do not endorse or accept any incentives, financial or otherwise, from the lenders listed on FastChoice. Lender information is provided as a courtesy and in no way should it be interpreted as a requirement to use one of the listed lenders. NDSU will process loans from any lender that participates in any educational loan programs.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Private loans for the fall semester will begin being reviewed in July.

Private Student Loan Deadlines

While there is no specific deadline for applying for a private loan during the semester you are attending; please be aware processing is currently being delayed due to the availability of the FAFSA and the delay of schools receiving FAFSA results. You should allow up to four weeks once NDSU receives the request from your lender for you to see the update to your Financial Aid Summary in your Campus Connection portal. It is recommended that you apply as soon as possible once you know what private loan funding you will need. Be sure to factor in the delayed processing time.

Recommended Application Dates

Summer 2024 Semester Only - May 27, 2024
2024-2025 Academic Year - July 31, 2024
Fall 2024 Semester Only - July 31, 2024
Spring 2025 Semester Only - November 29, 2024

Contact Tammy Fraase for further questions.

To apply for a private loan click on the FastChoice link above. If you have a question related to an existing private loan please submit your inquiry below.

Inquiry Form for an Existing NDSU Private Loan

Other Private Student Loan Options

There are other private student loan options. If your parents prefer to be the primary borrower of the loan rather than the co-signer, then you may want to consider the Federal Direct PLUS Loan. If you are a North Dakota resident, you may meet the requirements for the Gabriel Brown Trust Loan.

Please note: NDSU Financial Aid and Scholarships and its staff do not endorse or accept any incentives, financial or otherwise, from the lenders listed on FastChoice. Lender information is provided as a courtesy and in no way should it be interpreted as a requirement to use one of the listed lenders. NDSU will process loans from any lender that participates in any educational loan programs.

Private Loan Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding private student loans.

Does a student need to complete the FAFSA before a private loan will be certified?

NDSU strongly encourages students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to pursuing a private loan. Federal Direct Loans tend to offer lower fixed interest rates and benefits that private loans may not offer.

Please note: Some lenders require the FAFSA to be completed (Bank of North Dakota and MN SELF).

Do international students need to complete a FAFSA prior to certification of a private loan?

No. International students are not required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Does a student need to complete the verification process before a private loan is certified?

Yes. A private loan will not be certified until the verification process is completed.

Which lender should I use for a private loan?

Per federal regulation, NDSU is prohibited from referring a student to any lender. However, NDSU does offer a private loan comparison tool on our website called FastChoice. FastChoice lists private loan lenders that NDSU students have used in the past three years. NDSU does advise students to do some “shopping” to find the loan that works best for them.

Why was my loan not approved for the amount that I requested?

The maximum private loan a student can borrow is calculated in the following way:

Cost of Attendance (COA) - Total of all federal or state aid, scholarships, and waivers = Private loan eligibility

The cost of attendance (COA) is not the bill that you may get from NDSU; it is the total estimated amount it will cost you to go to college each year. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. Note: The COA for graduate and professional programs is usually higher than for undergraduate programs.

Private loans must be within a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA). Depending on the loan period they requested, it may have to be reduced. If a student is requesting a loan for a single term, NDSU will use only one semester’s COA to approve a loan amount.

Example: Student has a full year COA of $18,000. They have been awarded $5,500 in Federal Direct Loans for the year and a scholarship of $1000 for the fall. They are requesting a private loan for fall only of $10,000. The loan can only be certified for $5,250 for a fall only loan. NDSU would use $9,000 as the COA and subtract the aid received that semester ($3,750) which leaves $5,250 for a private loan maximum.

What is the time line for a private loan?

This will depend on you and the lender. Loan approvals can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. If the lender has all the paperwork they require to complete the loan, they will send the request for certification to NDSU. Certification by NDSU can take up to four weeks.

Please note: August, September and January are the months when volume is very high, please allow additional time during these months.

Some lenders may then request additional paperwork to be completed by the student once they receive the certification from the school. When the student completes all requirements of the lender, they will start the rescission period. The rescission period is generally 8 business days. If the student fails to complete the items the lender requires, the loan funds will not be sent to the school. If the student would like to know the exact date the lender will send the funds to the school they should contact the lender directly.

I applied for the wrong loan period, what can I do?

You will need to contact Tammy Fraase, to request a loan period change on your private loan. Not all loans can be changed after the certification process is complete.

What happens to my private loan if I transfer to another school?

Private loans will not transfer with you. You will need to apply for another loan at the new school using the new school’s information.

If I applied for a private loan and did not qualify because I was not meeting the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), but filed an appeal and am now meeting SAP, will my loan be processed?

You will need to notify Tammy Fraase regarding the processing of your loan.

I owe a balance for a semester that has ended, what do I do?

Private loans can be used to pay for a balance due from a semester that has ended, these are referred to as look back loans. Refer to the FastChoice loan comparison tool and click on "Look Back Loans" to review the list of participating lenders. You will want to review each lenders criteria to make sure you are eligible; for example, Satisfactory Academic Progress is a requirement for some look back loans. Please contact Tammy Fraase with any questions.