Private student loan United States

A private student loan is a financing option for higher education in the United States that can either supplement or replace federally guaranteed loans such as Stafford loans, Perkins loans and PLUS loans. These are unsecured loans with various options for repayment and may offer forbearance and deferral options.

Interest rates are set by the financial institution that underwrites the loan, typically based on the perceived risk that the borrower may be delinquent or in default of payments of the loan. The underwriting decision is complicated by the fact that students often do not have a credit history that would otherwise indicate creditworthiness. As a result, interest rates may vary considerably across lenders.

Because private student loans are subject to special treatment in the event of a personal bankruptcy, students may not incur a total debt in excess of the cost of attendance, taking into account scholarships, fellowships, federal loans and private loans.

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