Private loans, sometimes called alternative loans, are available from private lenders and offer additional financial assistance. A credit check is required for private loans, and some of the loan terms and conditions may be based upon your credit standing. If you are a student, be aware that most lenders will require a co-signer.
Please carefully review your need to borrow. We recommend that you exhaust all federal grant and loan programs before you consider a private loan.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will process a private loan from any lender. The lender does not have to be a lender listed in the links below. Our goal is to provide students with an array of lenders whom we have confidence in based on their terms and service capabilities. Ball State University has no affiliation with any private lenders, and financial aid employees abide by an established Code of Conduct.
- Unlike federal loans, private lenders set the terms for the loans, which can mean they have different criteria for both loan eligibility and loan rates. Before you decide to apply for a private student loan, we encourage you to research all of your options and keep a few things in mind.
- Private student loans have a range of interest rates, fees, and repayment options.
- We strongly encourage you to apply with a credit-worthy co-signer to both increase your chances of being approved for the loan and to obtain a better interest rate.
- Interest rates can be either fixed or variable. Variable rates can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions. Interest rates on private loans may depend on your and/or your co-signer’s credit rating.
- Before accepting any private student loan, you should determine the interest rate and any fees associated with the loan.
- Borrowers who choose different private loan lenders to fund their post-secondary education will likely have multiple student loan payments to make upon leaving school. It can be advantageous and economical to consider using the same lender for all of your private education loan needs.
- Initially apply to multiple lenders. Student loans are provided special protections under the credit reporting rules. As long as students conduct their ‘shopping’ within a 30-day period, there should be no impact on their credit rating and no impact on their loan terms.
If you have general questions about private loans you may certainly contact our office. However, please remember that we cannot offer assistance on your choosing of a lender or product. Each family’s circumstances are unique, and the loan terms and benefits offered to you may be dependent upon your specific credit standing.
Due to requirements in the Truth in Lending Act, a lender must obtain a self-certification signed by the applicant before disbursing a private education loan. If you have not provided a signed copy of the applicant self-certification form to your lender download the form.
Two tools are provided below for your use. Each allows you to compare lenders. These are not comprehensive listings of lenders, and you can use any lender of your choosing. These are provided to assist you in the process.
ELMSelect LENDER CHOICES
ELMSelect is a tool that allows you to compare rates of lenders. The following lenders were selected based on their terms and service capabilities.
Click on ELMSelect to begin the process.
INVESTED MARKETPLACE LENDER CHOICES
Instantly and accurately compare rates and terms from multiple private loan lenders side-by-side.
Click on INvestEd Marketplace to begin the process.
Private Student Loans Policy
Ball State recommends that families apply for need-based financial aid and/or federal loans by annually completing the FAFSA. We recommend that students exhaust their federal loans first because they may have lower, fixed interest rates and more flexible repayment options. Federal student loans also offer deferment options, forgiveness programs, and income-based repayment plans that may not be available from all private lenders.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will certify a private loan from any lender selected by the student.
Ball State has provided two comparison tools—ELM Select and INvested Marketplace—to consider when choosing private financing options.
Lenders for ELM Select were identified based on total loan volume with Ball State, affiliation with Education Loan Management (ELM), ability to disburse funds via electronic funds transfer (EFT), and consistent, timely and accurate customer service to both Ball State staff and students. A lender may be dropped from ELM Select if the above conditions are not maintained, if unethical or deceptive practices are perceived, or if origination, processing or servicing concerns arise that cannot be resolved satisfactorily. Ball State reserves the right to maintain and alter ELM Select at any time and to select lenders that consistently provide competitive products, along with responsible actions and policies that best serve our students.
INvested Marketplace is managed by INvested. The lender decisioning process is completely powered by an outside entity, currently Credible. Lenders are required to provide actual rates and terms.