Private Educational Loans are loans not guaranteed by the Federal government. The borrower (either student or parent) may borrow a private educational loan through various banks, credit unions, or savings and loan associations. There are many different types of private educational loans for different types of borrowers.

These 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 educational 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 educational loan.

One feature of many private educational loans is the ability to completely postpone (defer) repayment until you graduate from college. Private educational loans almost always offer lower interest rates than credit cards do.

While we encourage students and families to pursue Federal financial aid before considering private educational loans, there are student/family situations where a private educational loan is viewed as a preferred alternative. Sometimes parents want their student to be responsible for his/her education. In other cases, the convenience of not needing Federal forms to borrow funds is also a consideration. Whatever your situation may be, borrow only what you need, and compare your options before you borrow.

Montana State University has partnered with  Credible and  FASTChoice to provide you with comparison tools in considering lenders . These private loan comparison tools empower you to take control of the process and make an informed decision in selecting the best private loan for your individual situation.


Credible is an online tool that allows students to compare personalized loans from multiple lenders. Students can analyze prequalified rates, terms, and eligibility rules side-by-side in just a matter of minutes. Credible is not a lender or bank. Credible partners with student loan lenders so that applicants have a variety of competitive options, each addressing their particular needs.


FASTChoice, powered by Great Lakes loan guarantor and processor, helps you choose the right loan by presenting you with loan details, including eligibility requirements, interest rates, loan limits and borrower benefits. FASTChoice provides comparison tools for a variety of private educational lenders previously utilized MSU students.

NOTE: Montana State University does not endorse any of the lenders included in the links above and cannot recommend specific lenders. Students may also choose to use a loan provider that does not appear in the list of lenders included at either of the links above.


Requirements for Private Loans

MSU encourages students and families to do their research when making financial decisions for paying for school. Students choosing to decline Federal financial aid such as Federal Direct student and Parent PLUS loans, are required to submit an electronic Statement of Understanding prior to the certification of the private loan. MSU follows Federal Cost of Attendance when certifying loans in most circumstances. For example, students enrolled in less then six credits will not be allowed a Cost of Attendance that is normally meant for a student attending full-time.


For more details on Federal Loans visit our Federal Loans page.