If after filing FAFSA® you still don’t have enough aid to cover college costs, don’t worry. Nursing students are able to take our Private Student Loans to fill their aid gap. Private Student Loans are money that is lent out from institutions such as banks, credit unions, and even schools themselves.
Many nursing students, on average, end up in need of private loans because nursing programs come with additional costs like labs, books, and equipment that are generally more expensive than other programs.
Unlike Federal Loans, Private Student Loans do not have fixed, low-interest rates or flexible repayment plans. Additionally, Private Student Loans also require a credit check. If the student’s credit doesn’t meet minimum requirements, they will need to find a cosigner or they’ll be denied.
Benefits to Private Loans
Private Student Loans are more “convenient” to apply for in comparison to Federal Student Loans. When applying for Federal Student Aid, filing FAFSA® is required, followed by a waiting period for FAFSA® to process and schools to generate aid packages. On the inverse, when applying for a Private Student Loan, there is no waiting period. Students will find out if they’re approved on the spot – no processing period and no waiting for a package to be assembled.
Risks to Private Loans
Private Student Loans come with a higher risk than federal loans. For starters, you’ll likely have to begin repayment immediately. Nursing students do not have the option to defer payment until they are out of school.
Additionally, if the student does not have a strong credit history, interest rates might be significantly higher than Federal Loans, which means that you pay a lot more over time than you would have with a Federal Loan.
Competitive Private Lenders
Many private banks now offer loans tailored to nursing students seeking careers in healthcare. Here is a list of lenders that are relatively competitive and offer loans specifically for students in healthcare and nursing:
- Sallie Mae (Graduate, Professional Degree Seekers, and Career training Loans)
- Wells Fargo (Graduate and Professional Degree Seekers Loans)
- Discover (Health Professionals Loan)
- PNC Education Loan Center (Loans for Health Professionals)
- Citigroup (Graduate Degree and Health Professions Loans)
Read The Small Print
The most important thing for nursing students to remember if pursuing a private loan is to review all information and documentation before signing an agreement. Look over your finances and be sure you’ll be able to afford the monthly repayment schedule while also pursuing a competitive nursing degree. Discuss your choices with an agent, ask lots of questions, and only sign when you understand the agreement between you and the institution giving you the loan.