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Ascent Blog

6 Tips to Research & Apply for a Private Student Loan

May 17, 2023 | By: Breanna Knight
Categories: Blog, For Students, For College Students
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A private student loan can be a valuable resource to help finance your education when scholarships, grants, and federal aid aren’t enough. However, researching and applying for a private student loan can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the process. With so many lenders and loan options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

To help make the process less intimidating, we’ve put together six tips on how students can research and apply for a private student loan. By following these tips, you can find the best loan option for your needs and financial situation, and take one step closer to achieving your academic goals.

Tip 1: Understand Your Financial Needs and Eligibility

Before applying for a private student loan, it’s essential to understand how much money you need to borrow and what you’re eligible for. Start by reviewing your financial aid package and calculating your financial need (i.e. the difference between your college expenses and the financial aid you’re receiving). Then, research the eligibility criteria for private student loans, such as credit score requirements, income requirements, and enrollment status.

Tip 2: Research Different Lenders and Loan Options

Once you have a clear idea of your financial needs and eligibility, it’s time to research different lenders and loan options. Compare interest rates, repayment options, loan limits, and other terms to find the best loan option for your needs. Consider using loan comparison tools, seeking advice from financial aid offices, and reading reviews from other borrowers to help you make an informed decision. You can also consider Sparrow to search and compare prequalified loan

offers across multiple lenders through a single application.

Tip 3: Check Your Credit Score and Improve It If Necessary

A good credit score can increase your chances of getting approved for a private student loan with favorable terms. Therefore, it’s essential to check your credit score and improve it if necessary before applying for a loan. If your credit score is low, consider taking steps to improve it, such as paying off credit card debt, making on-time payments, and disputing errors on your credit report.

Tip 4: Consider a Cosigner

If you don’t have a strong credit score or income, consider finding a student loan with a cosigner, such as a parent or guardian, to increase your chances of getting approved for a private student loan. A cosigner with good credit and income can help you qualify for better terms, such as lower interest rates and higher loan limits. However, keep in mind that a cosigner is equally responsible for repaying the loan if you can’t make the payments.

Tip 5: Gather Required Documents and Apply

Once you’ve found a lender and loan option that meets your needs, it’s time to gather the required documents and apply for the loan. Common documents required for a private student loan application include proof of income, proof of enrollment, personal identification documents, and a cosigner agreement, if applicable. Make sure to review the application carefully and provide all the necessary information to avoid delays or denials.

Tip 6: Prepare for Loan Repayment

Once you have received the loan funds, you (and your cosigner, if applicable) will be responsible for repaying the loan, including any interest and fees, according to the terms of the loan agreement. Private student loans typically have variable or fixed interest rates and may require monthly payments while you are in school, after you leave school, or both.


Researching and applying for a private student loan is an essential step for many students looking to finance their education. By following these six tips, you can find the best loan option for your needs and take one step closer to achieving your academic goals. Remember to be proactive, informed, and responsible when managing your finances and taking on student loan debt.

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About Sparrow

Sparrow is a student loan marketplace that simplifies the borrowing process for students and their families. Sparrow’s platform allows borrowers to search and compare real, prequalified student loan rates from multiple lenders through a single two-minute form.


This blog was written by our partner, Sparrow. Ascent is not responsible for links to third-party websites where the security and privacy policies may differ. 

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