Private Education Loans

Private Loans are non-federal, credit-based educational loans. Several lenders have loan programs for international students, and for students who are unable to finance the cost of their education with traditional forms of financial aid. The Office of Financial Aid does not have a list of private loan lenders so students must conduct their own research and decide on the lender that is best for them. In addition, eligibility requirements and terms for private loans vary from lender to lender. We encourage students to weigh all their options and review the private loan information and application before applying for a private loan.

Bar Study Private Loans

Bar study private loans are available to law students who have recently graduated or will soon graduate from Chicago-Kent College – Conviser Law Center. These loans are offered through private lending institutions.

Private bar loans help cover post law school expenses, such as the costs of bar preparatory courses, additional bar exam registrations and living expenses while preparing for the bar exam.  When applying for a bar study private loan, only request the loan amount needed. 

Various lenders offer bar loans.  Each lender can differ mainly in fees and repayment options. Please research each lender thoroughly before applying. If approved for a Bar study private loan, the disbursement will be sent via paper check to the borrower directly, not through the Law School. Please also be mindful of when to apply for a Bar Loan, as that differs among lenders as well.

Private Loan Points to Consider

  • Private Loans are credit-based. The lender will review a student's credit report when determining eligibility. A student with an adverse credit history may be denied. Individuals that are not creditworthy may qualify with a creditworthy co-signer or by appealing a credit decision. 
  • Private Loans are not guaranteed or subsidized by the federal or state government.
  • Private Education Loans are not need-based. However, other financial aid is taken into consideration when determining the maximum private loan amount for which a student is eligible.
  • Eligibility is determined both by your lender and the Office of Financial Aid and cannot exceed a student's Cost of Attendance budget for a single academic year.
  • Terms and Conditions of private loans, including deferment, repayment, consolidation and interest vary between lenders.
  • Terms and Conditions may not as favorable as federal student loans.
  • Please allow sufficient time for the application, certification and disbursement of a private loan.


Loan Proccess

The decision to take out a private loan should be carefully reviewed. We recommend that you complete a FAFSA, if you meet financial aid eligibility, and apply for federal financial aid before applying for a private loan. International students are not eligible for federal aid. However, federal direct loans are generally more advantageous for eligible student borrowers. After you exhaust all scholarships, Federal Direct Stafford and Federal Perkins Loans eligibility, the Federal Direct Plus may be borrowed up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid. Although your eligibility for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan is maxed at $20,500 per academic year, you may receive a higher amount in the Federal Direct Plus Loan.

However, if you do not plan to complete a FAFSA, or do not wish to receive the Federal Direct Plus Loan, you may apply for a private loan. Private loans are not automatically renewed each academic year because, the Office of Financial Aid awards the Federal Loans first. For this reason, you must notify the Office of Financial Aid via email and accept the offered private loan in your myIIT account if you wish to receive these funds rather than federal loan funds. If we receive a private loan request from a lender on your behalf we will contact you to confirm your intentions and let you know of your federal loan options. We will not process the loan until we receive your confirmation email.

To help you determine the amount of private loan funds you will need, please download the Estimated Cost Worksheet.

It is important to remember that you CANNOT consolidate private loans through the federal loan consolidation program. Several lenders offer private loan consolidation, but they do not offer fixed interest rates and many charge up-front fees. In general, we do not recommend private loan consolidation. Therefore, we encourage you to borrow as little as possible. We encourage you to review your expenses and explore other sources of financial aid first.

Selecting a Lender

The Office of Financial Aid does not maintain a private loan lender list. You are free to select any lender you wish. To apply for a private loan you must select a lender and complete their application process. In order to ensure that you receive the most current and accurate information regarding private loans terms, the Office of Financial Aid recommends that students do as much research as possible before choosing a lender.

When choosing a private loan lender, please consider the following:

  • The interest rate will be variable on a quarterly to monthly basis.
  • Interest rates and loan terms will vary from lender to lender.
  • Some lenders charge loan and/or origination fees.  These fees will be deducted from your loan amount when the funds are disbursed.
  • In general, principal payments on these loans are deferred while enrolled but it is best check with your lender to determine the specific deferment and forbearance options before you apply.

Application Steps and Timeline

After you have chosen a lender you will need to apply directly with the lender on line or on paper. The lender will run a credit check and collect the proper documents from you before the funds can be disbursed to your student account. Many students are required to apply with a credit-worthy-co-signer and need to submit additional items to the lender to be approved. Once your application is approved the funds will be sent to the school and disbursed to your student account.

  1. Complete the lenders online application. Your lender will do a credit check and review your application.
  2. Complete the promissory note process and provide additional documentation if required.
  3. Complete a Private Education Loan Application Self-Certification Form. You will need to obtain this form from your lender or Financial Aid Office, complete it, and return it to your lender. You will receive three disclosure statements before the funds can be released.
  4. Accept and sign the Application Disclosure Form. Follow up with your lender to make sure you have submitted all required documentation.
  5. Once you have been approved and submitted all your final documentation, your lender will contact our office to request a school certification.
  6. Our office will email you to confirm that you are aware of your federal loan options, if you are eligible.
  7. Once we receive your confirmation response email we will certify the loan. Please be aware that we may be required to adjust the loan amount accordingly.
  8. Final Disclosure Statement will be sent to you from the lender.
  9. Rescission Period starts after you accept the Final Disclosure Statements' term and conditions.
  10. Funds are disbursed to the school.
  11. Funds are disbursed to the student account.
  12. An overpayment that results in a credit will be handled by the Student Accounting Office.

In compliance with the Higher Education Act, Title Z, effective 2/14/2010 lenders are required to collect the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form from the student as well as send out three disclosure statement before the loan can be disbursed.

  1. Application Disclosure-You will receive this form as part of the online pre-application process, before you fill out the application. If you apply by phone you will receive this disclosure within 3 days. This contains general information about ranges of rate, terms and fees.
  2. Self-Certification Form-Your lender will provide you with a blank Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form. This contains details about federal loan availability and encourages you to seek out federal loans before applying for federal loans. This form must be completed and signed by the applicant and returned to the lender before the loan can be disbursed. You have 180 days to complete this form back and send it back to the lender, or the loan will be canceled. If you need help in completing the form please contact our office. Please visit the Self Certification Form section for steps on how to complete this form. 
  3. Approval Disclosure-You will receive this form after final approval of the loan by the lender and before the school certification request is sent to the school. It contains specific information about the approved loan, including the approved loan amount, rate and estimated repayment schedule. This disclosure statement must be accepted by you either by calling the lender or logging onto the lenders website. If you do not accept this Approval Disclosure within 30 calendar days of receipt the loan approval or the loan will be cancelled and you will have to reapply.
  4. Final Disclosure-You will receive this form after your Approval Disclosure is received by the lender. It contains previously disclosed information on rate, fees, default, and repayment terms. It also gives you the 3 calendar days to cancel the loan prior to the first disbursement date.
  5. Rescission Period-This is your final opportunity to cancel the loan without penalty and gives you time to evaluate your needs for the private loan. (You have 3 days after you receive your Final Disclosure.) Your loan will not be disbursed until this period is over. The first date the loan can be disbursed is the 7th day from the date the lender mails the Final Disclosure.

*Find the current interest rate indexes (PRIME, LIBOR and T-Bill) here.

**Student loan lenders have the right to change their repayment benefits structure whenever they choose. Please contact you lender for more information.

Loan Period: The loan application will ask you for a loan period. This is the enrollment time that you wish to receive your loan. We recommend that you apply for the entire academic year August thru May, or your entire enrollment period for the year.

Loan Disbursement Date: Determined by school and lender, usually disbursed within 1-2 weeks after school certification is complete and student accepts Final Disclosure Statement.

Check Your Credit Report

Please keep in mind that every time you apply for a private loan the lender requests a copy of your credit report. Multiple requests can have a negative effect on your credit report, so we encourage you to choose your lender carefully before applying. Do not apply with a variety of different lenders.

We encourage students to review their credit reports annually to check for inaccuracies and identify any suspicious activity.

To receive your free credit report, please visit the following link: This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Please be aware that other sites may advertise free credit reports, but this is the only site that is sponsored by the federal government and the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Other sites may charge fees.