A Plain, Honest Guide to Private Student Loans

When people have the information they need to make a good decision, they do.

On the other hand, sometimes there is so much information, students end up being confused. (And let’s face it, getting a loan can seem like a complicated process.) We created the AbeSM Guide to Student Lending as a straightforward resource that uses plain, everyday language to explain how private student lending works.

Simply fill out the form and we will send the Guide directly to your email inbox.


Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for a private student loan?

You are eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at an eligible, 4-year institution in a degree-granting or graduate certificate program1
  • You’re at the legal age of majority, or at least 17 years of age at the time of application if applying with a cosigner who meets age of majority requirements in the cosigner’s state of residence
  • You’re a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien or an Eligible Non-Citizen (DACA recipient) applying with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, or an international student applying with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien

Do I need a cosigner for a private student loan?

Having a cosigner increases your approval chances.  Plus, a cosigner with good credit and employment histories will typically get a lower interest rate.

Who can be a cosigner on a private student loan?

A cosigner can be a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, guardian, or mentor.  Anyone with good credit who believes in your dream of going to college and wants to help you achieve it.1

What's the difference between a federal student loan and a private student loan?

A federal student loan is made by the federal government and is based on need.  A private student loan is made by a private entity that uses a borrower’s credit history to determine loan terms.

How much can I borrow with a private student loan?

With Abe, you can borrow2:

$1,000 minimum loan amount

$99,000 maximum annual loan amount

$225,000 aggregate student loan debt (total amount of student debt allowable)

What can I use a private student loan to pay for?

You can use it to pay for school-certified expenses including tuition, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses while you’re in school.

Can international students get private student loans?

Yes, international students can apply for an Abe private student loan with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien and has a good credit history.3

Do I need a credit history to get a private student loan?

Most students don’t have the credit history needed for qualifying for a private student loan.  That’s why we recommend a cosigner.

Can I use a private student loan to cover past due balances?

Yes, Abe loan applications for past due balances are accepted for up to eighteen calendar months following the academic period for which the student was enrolled or up to eighteen months after graduation.

When do you have to start repaying a private student loan?

It depends on what works best for you.  Some students like to get a head start by beginning repayment while in school while others defer making payments until after graduation.4

What is an Application and Solicitation Disclosure (ASD)?

During the application process, private student loan providers are required by law to prepare and deliver to borrowers three disclosure documents.  1. An Application and Solicitation Disclosure, 2. An Approval Disclosure, and 3. A Final Disclosure.

The ASD contains current interest rate ranges, loan cost examples, federal loan alternatives, and other general information. When an eligible student and cosigner apply online for the Abe student loan, the ASD will be delivered electronically.  Completion of an application is not required to view an ASD with current interest rates; however, all applicants, including prospective cosigners, must acknowledge that they have reviewed this disclosure before continuing the application process.