Private student loans are not guaranteed by the federal government. Private loans are similar to bank loans, and their interest rates may be based on an index, such as Prime or LIBOR. The interest rate for private loans will depend on the borrower's, and sometimes the co-borrower's, credit history. Private loans are intended to close the gap between the amount students can borrow under the federal student loan programs and the cost of higher education.
As you determine the best way to finance your education, you should consider the full range of student financial aid options available to you. Private loans are often used to supplement federal student loans, when federal loans are not sufficient to cover the full cost of education. Private student loans also offer students flexibility in choosing a school or participating in a specialized course of study when federal student loans aren't an option. You will need to work with your school to make informed decisions about which sources of funding are right for you.
Private student loans are for students (at the age of majority), parents of students, other guardians or credit-worthy related co-signers or "co-makers". While many alternative student loan programs require strict, non-negative credit and evidence of repayment capacity, individuals can sometimes borrow from $2,000 up to $15,000 and more per academic year based on cost of attendance minus other financial aid awarded. Interest rates for private student loans are generally variable student loan interest rates adjusted quarterly based on an index plus some percentage.