Private Alternative Loans

A number of private lenders (non-federal) and other financial institutions offer education loans to students. These loans are referred to as private alternative loans.

Private alternative loans are not subsidized, and generally have higher interest rates and fees, both based on your credit score. In addition, cosigners may be required. Penn encourages U.S. citizens and permanent residents to first consider the Federal Direct and Federal Direct PLUS loan programs when they need to borrow.

If you choose to pursue a private alternative loan, you will submit your loan application directly to the lender and not through the University of Pennsylvania.

Can Penn recommend the best private alternative loan?

Interest rates and fees on many private loans are tiered, based on your credit score. Therefore, Penn cannot provide you with information about comparative pricing of private loans nor about the likelihood of your being approved with or without a cosigner.

To assist you we have listed below, in alphabetical order, those private lenders who have made five or more private educational loans to Penn students over the past five years, who have not, to our knowledge, suspended making education loans, and who have electronic processes and links to Penn that expedite loan origination and disbursement.

Tip: Before applying for any private alternative loan program, be sure to get free copies of your credit reports at and correct any errors that may be listed.

Historical Lending List

Please note you are not required to use any of the listed lenders and will not be penalized or disadvantaged if you choose to borrow from another lender. Be sure to compare the fees and terms of all student loan products to determine which are best suited to your needs.



1st Ed Credit Union
American Eagle Financial Credit Union
Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union
Bank of North Dakota
Baxter Credit Union
Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA)

Citizens Bank

College Avenue

Day Air Credit Union

Earnest Student Loans, A Navient company
Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) - NJCLASS Loan
Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA)
Members 1st Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union
NASA Federal Credit Union

PA Forward  

PNC Bank

Prodigy Finance
Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA)



Star One Credit Union
Sun Federal Credit Union
Thrivent Federal Credit Union
Union Federal