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Private Educational Loans

Private educational loans (often referred to as alternative loans) are offered by banks and lending institutions as a substitute for the Federal Direct Grad PLUS loan. Students interested in receiving a private education loan are encouraged to carefully review the chart below that compares the two funding methods and to  discuss their borrowing needs with the Office of Student Financial Services.  

Choosing a Lender

Students can apply for a private education loan from any lender they wish.  The University of Cincinnati does not endorse lenders or loan products nor does it limit student choice.  To assist students with basic counseling on these loans and to view side-by-side comparisons of loan products utilized by UC students during the past two academic years you may visit FASTChoice, a product from Great Lakes Educational Loan Services.  FASTChoice will help you explore loans by comparing terms and even link you to a particular lender's website to obtain more details.

The FASTChoice tool does not include every possible loan program, so students are welcome and advised to shop around for the best terms available.  A PDF Alternative Loans Lenders that have been used by UC students recently is also available as a resource.  The best loan terms will often require the addition of a worthy co-signer as the decisions are credit based.  Keep in mind that some lenders may not utilize agreements to have funds electronically sent after the loan has been approved; in this case, your student loan funds may be delayed due to paper check processing.

Application Process

After deciding upon a lender that suits your needs, submit the Private Educational Loan Request Form to the Office of Student Financial Services to initiate the application process with UC.  This is available on the navigation menu to the left under 'Forms'.  

Grad PLUS Loan Private Educational Loan


Federal government

Bank or lending institution.

Application Process

Follow the UC COM financial aid application instructions.

Follow the application process specified by the lender.


Rates and Fees

Rates set every year based on the 10-year Treasury Bill plus an add-on percentage. 

Rates apply for the life of the loan. Rate for 2023-24 is 8.05%.  Rate for 2024-25 is 9.08%

4.228% origination fee.

Variable interest rate. Variable rates will rise and fall depending on market conditions. They can change as frequently as every three months. The interest rate you receive will depend on your credit score. 

Fees vary by lender and may be as low as 0%. 

Using a co-signer might lower your interest rate. Some lenders provide a co-signer release provision during repayment.


A co-signer (endorser) is required only if you have adverse credit.

Using a co-signer will NOT lower your interest rate.

If you do not meet the lender’s credit criteria, you might receive the loan if you apply with a credit-worthy co-signer.

Using a co-signer might lower your interest rate.

Loan Limits

Cost of attendance minus your other financial aid.

Cost of attendance minus your other financial aid.


Equal disbursements over the terms of the academic year required.

Borrower can specify disbursement amounts and dates.

Deferment and Forbearance

All deferment options attached to federal student loans are available. You are entitled to mandatory forbearance of payments during residency if you request it. See

Some loans offer forbearance of payments during residency, usually for a specified number of years, which may not cover long residencies. Do not borrow a loan that does not offer this option.

Repayment Term

All repayment options attached to federal student loans are available. See Loan can be paid off early without penalty.

Limited repayment options. Standard repayment term is usually 20 years. Loan can be paid off early without penalty.

Loan Forgiveness

Eligible for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program

Not eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program


Loan is discharged upon death or total and permanent disability of borrower.

Most loans are NOT insured against death or disability. Lender will attempt to collect the loan from the borrower’s estate.

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Medical Student
Financial Services

Medical Sciences Building
231 Albert Sabin Way
PO Box 670552
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0552

Mail Location: 0552
Phone: 513-558-6797
Fax: 513-558-1100