Things to Consider When Selecting a Lender

  • Understand the ultimate cost of the loan over its lifetime. Compare annual percentage rates (APR) versus interest rates and fees to determine the real cost of the loan.
  • Be aware of what the monthly payments will be after graduation or leaving school and how that will affect your lifestyle after college.
  • Find out what the “borrower benefits” really mean to you. How is each benefit achieved and how are they kept throughout repayment? What happens if you miss an “on time” payment?
  • Are there forbearance or deferment options? Understand what additional cost these may have for you.
  • How does the lender capitalize interest (for example, after repayment begins or quarterly)?
  • Notify your lender of any change in address, name, or repayment problems—lack of communication is one of the first steps toward delinquency. 
  • Borrowers should always explore federal loan options first as alternative student loans may have higher interest rates and fees. Federal Student Aid can help you compare the two options.
  • Please note that lenders offer better interest rates to borrowers who have a qualified cosigner.
  • Law and graduate students may find that lenders have an alternative loan designed for their field of study.

The University of Oregon does not recommend nor do we have a special affiliation with any lender. We will use any lender you choose.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at the University of Oregon strongly upholds this Code of Conduct.

Consumer information regarding alternative student loans can be obtained from the Project on Student Debt. The Federal Trade Commission provides a consumer guide that offers advice on how to spot deceptive marketing.

For more information on alternative student loan lenders, please contact us.