Private Educational Loans

Students who find they need more financial assistance than is offered in the financial aid award prepared by the Student Financial Services Office may want to consider a private education loan. These loans allow students to borrow up to their total cost of education less any financial aid they have been awarded.

Because Federal Direct student loans offer better loan terms, more repayment options and, in some cases, eligibility for cancellation of some of the loan principal, students are encouraged to maximize their eligibility for federal loans prior to applying for private loans.


Eligibility for private educational loans is credit-based; it is not based on need. Interest rates are generally variable and interest accrues while the student is in school. Generally, repayment of the loan can be deferred until the student leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment.

Eligible students may annually borrow up to the total cost of attendance, less any financial aid received. Students who receive need-based financial aid may use private loans to replace some or all of their expected family contribution and/or unmet need.

Most private educational loans require the borrower to be a degree-seeking student who is registered at least half-time (six hours as an undergraduate; 3 hours as a graduate student). However, some private education loans, known as "Continuing Education Loans," are available for enrollment that is not degree-seeking and/or is less than half-time.

Loan Processing

To ensure that the amount needed is available when it is needed:

  • Students borrowers who need assistance determining how much they are eligible to borrow (cost of attendance minus estimated financial assistance) should contact the Student Financial Services Office.
  • Unless students specifically instruct otherwise, Student Financial Services certifies loans to be evenly disbursed over the quarters students indicate on their loan applications. Students who know they will have uneven costs should tell Student Financial Services so their loans can be awarded and disbursed to their student accounts accordingly.
  • Regulations require student borrowers to complete a loan self-certification and submit it to their lender. Because this step adds to processing time, the Student Financial Services Office recommends that students apply for private loans a minimum of six weeks before the tuition payment deadline for their first term of enrollment each academic year.
  • It can take as long as four weeks following loan approval for students to receive their loan funds. Students who know they will need a loan for the entire year are encouraged to apply early and for the entire year rather than quarter-by-quarter.

Most lenders participate in ELM, an automated web-based certification system. Students should ask their lenders if they participate using the ELM process. If they do, the student's loan certification will be posted electronically on ELM for certification by the Student Financial Services Office. If a lender doesn't participate through ELM, the student's application will be completed as a paper document that is submitted by the lender to the Student Financial Services Office for certification. For this reason, processing paper applications and certification generally takes longer.

Credit balances on the student accounts of students who apply for loan amounts in excess of the total due to Seattle University will be refunded to those students.

Private Loan Lender List

Interested students can go to the Private Loan Lender List for more information including a comparison of interest rates, fees and other incentives lenders provide.

For information about how lenders were selected for this list, please review the Private Educational Loan Policy. Please note that the Office of Student Financial Services does not recommend a specific lender or lenders. This list is offered as a way for students to compare their private lending options after they have fully investigated their federal student loan eligibility. The Student Financial Services Office will certify a private educational loan for any lender a student selects, regardless of whether or not that lender appears on this list and regardless of whether or not the student has chosen to apply for federal loans or other financial aid.