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Private Education Loans


Private alternative loans are non-federal educational loans through a private lender, such as a bank. They offer a variety of loan products to undergraduate, graduate, professional school, part-time, continuing education, and international students. In some cases, these loans can be used to pay past due balances of educational costs. 

Students can finance their education using these types of loans; a credit-worthy cosigner is typically required.  

Parents, family members, or other credit-worthy individuals may also borrow on behalf of a student through private alternative loans.  This type of loan is in the parent or individual's name and is repaid by that person.  Undergraduate, as well as graduate students, may have their education financed by another person using one of these types of private loans.  These "Parent Loans" can be found using our private loan comparison tool for which you will find a link farther down on this page.


should i consider a private loan?

Before you apply for a private (alternative) loan, you should first consider all types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and Federal Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized, parent PLUS, and Grad PLUS).  Generally they offer better terms and lower interest rates.

If you find that you need additional funding, do not wish to apply for federal financial aid, or are ineligible for federal aid, you may want to apply for a private loan.  Some private loans are not subject to federal financial aid regulations, such as having a FAFSA on file, making satisfactory academic progress, completing federal verification, and they do not have limits on the amount borrowed based on the number of credits earned.  However, they are based on the credit-worthiness of the applicant and/or the cosigner.

Loan debt can accumulate quickly and take a long time to pay off. High indebtedness can result in a lifetime burden of loan repayments and possible credit denials for credit cards, automobile purchases, and home mortgages. To avoid these problems, don't over-borrow.

Shop carefully for your loan by comparing the terms and conditions of various loans. Become a better-educated consumer and an expert at your own personal finances at CashCourse.


When should I apply?

Clarion University cannot certify loans that are submitted too early!  We suggest that you submit your loan application on or after these dates:

  • July 15th for a fall semester only or full academic year (fall/spring) loan 
  • November 1st for a spring semester only loan
  • May 1st for a summer loan

Please note:  Each financial aid year begins with the summer term and ends with the spring term.  Private loan certifications cannot occur until all other financial aid is packaged for the financial aid year; this usually occurs in mid to late June. Therefore, private loan certifications do not typically begin until July every year.  If you have applied for a private loan for the summer or the upcoming fall/spring semesters, do not be alarmed if you see that your loan is not on your account until sometime in July or August.  If you are taking summer classes and have a due date that is before this time, please make sure you apply before the due date to avoid late fees and registration holds.


how do i find a lender?  Can you recommend a lender?

You have the right to choose any lender you wish.  We do not recommend any particular lenders. However, to assist you in your search, we have provided a list of private loan lenders from whom Clarion University students have borrowed in the past three years.  Lenders are listed in alphabetical order and are in no way ranked by Clarion University.  Please click on the link below which will direct you to ELMSelect, our private loan comparison tool.  When you have reached this site, please choose one of the following options:  Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, International, MBA or Parent Loans.  An option for Private Consolidation Loans is also available if you would like to review your consolidation options.

Find a lender and compare private loans using ELMSelect.  



Most private education lenders require students to have a cosigner for their loans. In addition to increasing your chances of getting approved for the loan, having another person cosign sometimes helps you get a lower interest rate. Parents, grandparents, or other family members often serve as cosigners. However, your cosigner does not have to be a relative. He or she should be someone with a steady income and a good credit history.


What is the loan application process?  How long will it take for me to get my money?

  1. Apply directly to the lender of your choice. If you choose a lender who is listed on the ELMSelect comparison tool website, you can apply directly online through the site.  You can also go to a lender's direct website to apply.
  2. When you have been approved, your lender will notify Clarion via a loan certification request. 
  3. When Clarion is able to certify your loan (please review "When Should I Apply" above for details) and ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements, Clarion will then notify the lender that we have certified your loan.
  4. According to the Truth in Lending Act, the lender cannot send your loan funds to Clarion University until after a rescission (cancellation) period.  Please note:  As it can take 10-14 days, on average, before your loan funds post to your student account, it is recommended that students apply for a private loan 2-3 weeks before the invoice due date.  The loan certification request should be received at least two weeks prior to the invoice due date in order to allow sufficient time for our office to certify the loan and in order for the student not to receive a late fee or hold.
  5. Once the loan proceeds are credited to your account, any applicable charges are paid.  A refund is processed if there is excess aid. This part of the process may take an additional week or two. If you have a registration hold, the hold will be released during overnight processing.


The Truth In Lending Requirements

As per the Truth in Lending Act of 2010, lenders who provide private education loans must comply with the following requirements:

  • Lenders must provide three separate loan disclosures to borrowers--one at the point of application, one when the loan is approved, and one before the loan is disbursed.
  • A waiting period of three business days is required between the time the borrower receives the final loan disclosure and the time that the loan is disbursed to the University.
  • The borrower must complete and submit the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form.  This form will include information about the availability of federal student loans, the student’s cost of attendance, estimated amount of financial assistance, and the difference between the student’s cost of attendance and estimated financial aid. This form is provided by the lender. If necessary, it may also be obtained at the Student Financial Services Office or by clicking on the above link.
  • Your lender should provide you with all of the necessary information about these requirements.


Clarion University Student Lending Code of Conduct

  • Clarion University does not participate in revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender.
  • CUP does not permit any officer, employee, or agent of the school who is employed in the Student Financial Services Office or is otherwise involved in the administration of educational loans to accept any gift of greater than a nominal value from any lender, guarantor, or servicer.
  • CUP does not permit any officer, employee, or agent of the school who is employed in the Student Financial Services Office or is otherwise involved in the administration of educational loans to accept any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including a stock purchase option) from a lender or affiliate of a lender as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
  • CUP does not permit any officer, employee, or agent of the school who is employed in the Student Financial Services Office or is otherwise involved in the administration of educational loans to participate on an advisory board, commission, or other group established by a lender or on behalf of a lender.
  • CUP does not assign a specific lender to a first-time borrower through the financial aid packaging process, nor does it maintain a preferred lender list.
  • CUP recognizes that a borrower has the right to choose any lender from which to borrow to finance his/her education. CUP will not refuse to certify or otherwise deny or delay certification of a loan based on the borrower's selection of a lender and/or guarantor.
  • CUP will not request or accept any assistance with call center or Aid Office staffing from a lender, or any other group established on behalf of a lender.
Last Updated 12/1/22