Private Educational Loans


Private alternative loans are non-federal educational loans through a private lender, such as a bank. They offer a variety of loan products to undergraduate, graduate, professional school, part-time, continuing education, and international students. In some cases, these loans can be used to pay past due balances of educational costs.   

Students can finance their education using these types of loans; a credit-worthy cosigner is typically required.    

Parents, family members, or other credit-worthy individuals may also borrow on behalf of a student through private alternative loans. This type of loan is in the parent or individual's name and is repaid by that person. Undergraduate, as well as graduate students, may have their education financed by another person using one of these types of private loans.     

Federal Aid First 

Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to determine your status for any  financial aid for which you are eligible. Before you apply for a private alternative loan, you should first consider all types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and Federal Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized, Parent PLUS, and Grad PLUS). Generally, they offer better terms and lower interest rates. Before opting for a private alternative loan, review information for the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). William Paterson University participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. 

Who Can Borrow? 

  • Students (and parents) who are U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents  
  • Non-U.S. citizen students (including DACA  and international students) who are enrolled in an institution in the U.S. are eligible to apply with a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with required U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) documentation. 
  • Non-matriculated students (only in special cases). 


Before you choose a private loan to fund your educational expenses, please consider the following:

  • Do not apply for your alternative loan more than 90 days prior to the beginning of the semester for which you are applying. Otherwise, your credit check may run out and the loan will not be valid at the time of disbursement.  
  • Choose one lender that fits your needs best and stick with them. Multiple applications will significantly delay the processing of your loan.  

Schedule ALL the courses you plan to take BEFORE you apply for your loan to assure your loan is certified for the correct amount.   

A separate loan application is required for winter and summer session(s) in each award year.  

Use only valid loan term dates. Invalid loan term dates may delay certification of your loan.  

Loan debt can accumulate quickly and take a long time to pay off. High indebtedness can result in a lifetime burden of loan repayments and possible credit denials for credit cards, automobile purchases, and home mortgages. To avoid these problems, do not over-borrow.  

When should I apply? 

William Paterson University cannot certify loans that are submitted too early!  We suggest that you submit your loan application on or after these dates:  

Enrollment Period 

Loan Term Date  

Fall & Spring Semester  

September - May 

Fall Semester only 

September - December 

Spring Semester only  

January - May 

Summer Session  

May - August  

Winter Session  

December - January 

TIP: Loans applied to the academic year are applied to Fall and Spring semesters only. If you need a loan for Summer or Winter term, you must apply for a separate additional loan. 


How do I find a lender? Can you recommend a lender?

You have the right to choose any lender you wish.  We do not recommend any lenders. However, to assist you in your search, we have provided a list of private loan lenders from whom William Paterson University students have borrowed in the past three years. Lenders are listed in alphabetical order and are in no way ranked by William Paterson University. Please click on the link below which will direct you to ELMSelect, our private loan comparison tool.  When you have reached this site, please choose one of the following options:  Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, International, or Parent Loans.  An option for Private Consolidation Loans is also available if you would like to review your consolidation options. Find a lender and compare private loans using ELMSelect   


Why do I need a cosigner? 

Most private education lenders require students to have a cosigner for their loans. In addition to increasing your chances of getting approved for the loan, having another person cosign sometimes helps you get a lower interest rate. Parents, grandparents, or other family members often serve as cosigners. However, your cosigner does not have to be a relative. He or she should be someone with a steady income and a good credit history.  


What is the loan application process?  How long will it take to get my money? 

  1. According to the Truth in Lending Act, the lender cannot send your loan funds to William Paterson University until after a rescission (cancellation) period. Please note:  As it can take 10-14 days, on average, before your loan funds post to your student account, it is recommended that students apply for a private loan 2-3 weeks before the bill due date.   
  2. Apply directly to the lender of your choice. If you choose a lender who is listed on the ELMSelect comparison tool website, you can apply directly online through the site.  You can also go to a lender's direct website to apply.  
  3. When you have been approved, your lender will notify William Paterson University via a loan certification request.   
  4. When William Paterson Universitycan certify your loan (please review "When Should I Apply" above for details) and ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements,William Paterson University will then notify the lender that we have certified your loan.  
  5. Once the loan proceeds are credited to your account, any applicable charges are paid.  A refund is processed if there is excess aid. This part of the process may take an additional week or two.