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Student Financial Aid

Private Loans

Private loans help bridge the gap between the cost of education and the limited amount of financial aid available through federal programs.

If assistance beyond what is available through the federal loan programs is desired, there are several private lenders who offer alternative loans to cover educational expenses. Loan approval is generally based on creditworthiness and ability to repay – for students, a credit-worthy, employed co-signer might be required (and is strongly encouraged to get the best rates and terms).

Before Applying for a Private Loan

Consider Federal Loans

In most cases, it is advantageous for students to pursue Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans and for parents to pursue Federal PLUS Loans (or Grad PLUS Loans for graduate students) before seeking private loans. A major advantage of these federal programs is that the federal government caps the interest on the loans. Additionally, alternative loans typically do not offer the same benefits as federal loans, such as consolidation, service cancellations and military repayment.


Compare Private Loan Options

FastChoice is a tool that allows you to compare loan options to identify the loan that will best meet your specific needs and then submit your application. The lenders and loan options presented in FastChoice include all participating lenders who made a loan at Clemson within the last three years.

If you are looking for private student loans without a co-signer, explore the following lenders: Ascent Independent, Funding U or Edly. 

For international student loans, research the following lenders: MPOWER, Prodigy Finance, SoFi or Earnest Student Loan.

You are free to choose any lender, including those not presented in FastChoice. Please keep in mind that each lender has specific terms and conditions along with additional requirements for satisfactory academic progress, credit hours and grade level.  

Recently Used Lenders

Students at Clemson University have used the following private loan programs from lenders that currently do not participate in FastChoice:

  • AAC Credit Union
  • Bank of North America
  • CFCU Community Credit Union
  • Christian Community Credit Union
  • Maine Educational Loan Authority (MELA)
  • Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA)
  • Members 1st Federal Credit Union
  • Raise Private Student Loan – First Marblehead
  • Seaport Credit Union
  • Springs Close Foundation
  • Sixup Private Ed Loan
  • Tinker FSU
  • Utility Employees CU
  • University of Wisconsin CU
  • Wright Patt Credit Union

Applying for a Private Loan 

For funds to be available for payment purposes, we recommended that applications be submitted by these priority dates:

  • June 30 for the Fall semester.
  • November 1 for the Spring semester.
  • April 1 for Summer sessions. 

Please note that the credit check performed by many lenders expires after 90 to 120 days. Therefore, you should not apply for a private loan more than three months before the start of the loan period. However, because of processing time, you should apply as soon as possible within the three-month window. 

Fund Disbursement 

Most private loan disbursements are made via Electronic Funds Transfer from your lender to Clemson University. These funds are applied to the student's account with any excess – after all University fees are satisfied – being released to the student. 

Changing Loan Amounts 

You are encouraged to only borrow needed funds. If the loan approval is more than you desire, you can reduce the amount by calling the Financial Aid Office at 864-656-2280, emailing the Office of Student Financial Aid at, or following the directions provided by the lender on the disclosure statement you receive. Requesting an increase to a private loan will most often require submitting a new application with your lender.

Attendance at Prior Institutions 

We strongly encourage students who have borrowed through the private loan program at other institutions prior to attending Clemson to retain their previous lenders. This will avoid making multiple loan repayments in the future.