Summer Term Private Educational Loan

You must review and submit a summer aid application EVEN if you are ONLY applying for a private educational loan in the summer. Many of your questions about the summer aid process and disbursement timeframe will be explained through the Summer Aid applicaiton process.

You can locate Summer Aid information here.

Fall and Spring Term Private Educational Loan

To avoid potential expiration of the private loan approval we advise that you NOT submit your Fall 2022/Spring 2023 private loan application prior to May 2022. 

Private loans are credit based and conditionally approved for a specific period of time, ranging from 30 to 365 days, dependent on your lender. Questions pertaining to your private loan application(s) approval expiration must be directed to your lender

NOTE: Borrowers cannot combine their summer loan period with their fall/spring loan period. Summer loans are a separate loan period and require a separate loan application from fall/spring private loans. Applying for all three semesters in one loan may result in significant delays in loan processing.

Steps Specific to Private/Alternative Loans

Private Educational Loans

Private loans are non-federal educational loans offered by private lenders (i.e. banks, credit unions, educational financing institutions) to assist with educational expenses. Private loans can help fill the gap between need-based financial aid and your total educational costs. Because they are not backed by the federal government, private loans may have terms and conditions less favorable than federally funded student and parent loans; take advantage of all your federal student aid opportunities before considering a private loan. While all private lenders require borrowers to pass a credit check, no two lenders have the same terms and conditions. Be sure to carefully research each loan before applying.

Information about the differences between private loans and federal loans can be found here


What you should know before applying for a Private Loan

What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

You may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial aid. If you have not filed a FAFSA, we recommend that you do so prior to applying for a private loan as federally funded student aid may offer more favorable terms and conditions than private loans. 


Do I have to be enrolled at least half-time to receive a Private Loan?

Many lenders, but not all, require that you be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program. Some lenders allow students to be enrolled less than half-time or in a continuing education or certificate program


Can I apply for a Private Loan to cover my past-due balance?

Many lenders will create a loan for a past-due balance. Other requirements apply and vary by lender. Contact lenders prior to applying to determine if they can meet your particular needs. After navigating to our preferred lender list, choose “Show Advanced Filters” to identify lenders offering past-due balance loans. 


Do I have to be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to receive a Private Loan?

This varies by lender. To determine whether SAP is a loan requirement, navigate to our lender list and choose “Show Advanced Filters” or contact the lender directly. 


What loan period dates do I choose?

The loan period is the timeframe you wish the loan to cover. Typically, this is from the start (August) to the end (May) of the academic year although you may choose a loan period to cover just one semester. When you apply for a private loan, you will be required to enter your desired loan period. Full-year loans are evenly divided so half disburses in fall and half disburses in spring. One semester loans will disburse once in each term. This does not mean funds will be immediately available at the start of the term rather that this is the term for which you are borrowing. To request a loan for the entire aid year, use August through May. If you are applying for a single term, for example, fall term only, your loan period would be August through December. If you have any questions about term dates, you can refer to the Academic Calendar


What will my interest rate be?

Interest Rates may be fixed or variable and are determined by your lender’s requirements. A fixed interest rate stays the same during a set period set forth by the lender (either a portion of or the entire loan period). Variable rates fluctuate periodically based on index changes.


Are there any fees associated with Private Loans?

There are different fees that a private lender may charge, and this is an important question to ask prior to completing a loan application.


When do I have to start repaying my Private Loan?

Repayment terms and options vary by lender. Most require that you make a minimum payment while in school while some may offer a full deferment. It is important to ask this question before applying with a lender. Remember, when you borrow money for your education, you are signing a legal obligation to repay the loan according to the terms and conditions set forth by your lender. You must repay your student loans even if you do not graduate or complete your education.


Will all of my classes count towards my Private Loan eligibility?

Only classes with a “Yes” under the “Eligible for Financial Aid” Column in “My Class Schedule” in MyMadison.  If you see a “Yes” next to one of your classes, then this course will be considered when your financial aid eligibility is calculated.  If you see a “No” next to one of your classes, then this class cannot be counted as part of your attempted credits when your financial aid eligibility is determined.  You can learn more about this at Section 23: Classes and Program of Study Applicability


It’s important to note that a Private Loan lender may indicate you qualify for a higher loan limit than what JMU will certify for you.  The lender is basing their decision primarily on financial measures (e.g., credit check, etc.) associated with your application, but JMU will need to certify your loan application with the lender before the loan can reach the final stage of approval.  The amount certified in the loan cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance, which is heavily influenced by the number of financial aid eligible classes you are registered for during the enrollment period.  For example, if you are registered for a total of 9 credit hours in a term and only 6 of them are listed with a Yes” under the “Eligible for Financial Aid” Column in “My Class Schedule” in MyMadison, then for financial aid purposes, your Cost of Attendance will be built based on 6 hours.


Choosing a Lender

  • Lender credibility
    • Is the lender credible? What is the lender’s reputation?
  • Ease of communication
    • Should you have questions that arise, are you comfortable with the ease of contacting your lender?
  • Credit Criteria
    • Most lenders require at least 2 years of credit experience and a source of positive income in order to apply without a co-signer. Most students need to apply with a credit-worthy co-signer.
  • Borrower benefits
    • Does the lender offer any benefits such as graduation, auto-debit, or on-time payment benefits?
  • Pre-payment penalties
    • Does the lender penalize you if you pay off the loan prior to the end of the loan repayment terms?
  • Loan Forgiveness
    • Some lenders may provide loan forgiveness. This means you are no longer expected to repay your loan due in specific circumstances such as military service, death of the borrower, or permanent disability.


How to Apply

  1. Complete a Private Loan Application with the lender of your choice here


NOTE: Private lender selection is an important decision and should be carefully researched. Because lenders can change their terms and conditions without notifying JMU, we advise you to verify this information with your desired lender prior to applying for a loan. You may borrow with any lender offering a private education loan regardless of whether or not they are listed on JMU’s preferred lender list. JMU does not discriminate against lenders and will certify loans from any lender provided the student meets the lender’s eligibility requirements.


  1. Your lender will review your application and complete a credit check.
  2. Complete and provide all additional documentation your lender may require from you and/or your co-signer.
  3. Submit a Private Loan Self Certification Form to your lender. This form will be provided during the application process. If your lender has requested a Self-Certification Form and one has not been provided to you, contact your lender or complete the below form and submit it to your lender. You will not receive your loan funds until this step is complete. 




NOTE: Do not submit the Private Loan Self Certification Form to JMU; the form needs to be submitted directly to your lender.


What happens next?

  1. Once you have provided all documentation, your lender will reach out to JMU for school certification. We will then verify your enrollment, loan period(s), cost of attendance, academic standing, etc.
  2. Average private loan processing is 2 to 6 weeks with the longer delay taking place during our peak volume times prior to the fall, summer, and spring terms. We strive to lessen this time frame as much as possible.
  3. Most lenders will disburse your private loan funds electronically while some send funds via paper check. If you are curious as to which method is used, please contact your lender. NOTE: Lenders will not disburse your funds until all requested documentation and disclosures have been completed. Your loan funds cannot disburse earlier than 10 days prior to your term start date. Delays in submitting your certification may cause delays in your disbursement.


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