Private Student Loans

Private loans are non-federal student loans and typically have higher interest rates than federal loans, so we recommend exhausting all federal options first. Private loans are based on credit and may require a credit-worthy co-signer.

Before applying for a private loan, Columbia College highly recommends that students complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal loans and grants. Federal student loans may have more favorable terms and conditions than those offered by private lenders.

Students may consider applying for private loans to be used as a supplemental resource for college costs. Lenders must provide multiple detailed loan disclosure statements that require the borrower's and co-borrower's active completion.

Private Loan Comparison Tool

Columbia College has established a historical lender list to assist students and families in their search for private student loan options. The lenders were evaluated and selected based on prior student usage. Columbia College does not promote nor endorse private loan lenders. You may borrow from any lenders you choose. 

FASTChoice is an online loan comparison solution customized for Columbia College to help students find a private loan that best meets their needs. It is not a lender but an independent, web-based student loan comparison tool. You can apply online directly from the website. Please remember that you can choose any lender, even if they are not on the FASTChoice website.

Plan Ahead and Apply Early! 

Allow 3 to 4 weeks for loan processing, certification, and receipt of funds.

Once your loan has been processed, requests for reductions and cancelations can be made by emailing

Helpful tips:

Consider these criteria when selecting a lender:
  • Interest rates: Are interest rates fixed or variable during loan repayment?
  • Fees: What percentage of fees, if any, are charged to borrow the private loan?
  • Amount: Only borrow what is needed to keep your loan debt minimal.
  • Co-Signer Release: What is the length of time a co-signer can be released from repayment responsibilities on the loan?
  • Repayment: Options will differ per lender and are separate from federal student loans.

You may estimate loan repayment costs on the Federal Student Aid Repayment Estimator after logging in with an FSA ID.

*The following chart is based on the standard repayment option of 120 payments, a 6.80 percent interest rate and loan repayments not exceeding 8 percent of expected salary earnings.

Total student loan debt Monthly payment Minimum annual income needed to afford monthly payment
$5,000 $58 $8,700
$10,000 $115 $17,500
$20,000 $230 $35,000
$30,000 $345 $52,000
$40,000 $460 $69,000
$50,000 $575 $86,000
$100,000 $1,151 $172,000

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