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Financial Aid and Scholarships

Private Loans

Private loans are credit-based and require an application directly with an educational loan lender. These loans can vary in terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Therefore, private loans should be considered as a last resort for educational purposes after all other federal aid options have been exhausted (grants, scholarships and Federal Direct Loans). We advise students that are considering a private loan to research and understand the terms and conditions from the lenders and to speak with a One-Stop counselor.

Have you applied for Federal Student Aid?

Before considering private educational loans, it's important to apply for all other types of aid. Please complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal, state and institutional grants, federal work-study, and low-interest federal loans.

Eligibility | Apply | Federal Direct vs. Private Education Loans | Disbursement


Please Note: Every step of the loan process must be completed at least two weeks before the end of the enrollment period to ensure necessary processing time. For more private loan information, visit Applicant Self Certification or federally protected rights regarding private education loans.

Federal Loans

Federal student loans, offered by the government, are based on your financial and family situation, as provided in your FAFSA.

For subsidized loans, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while the student is in school at least half-time, grace (if offered) and authorized deferment periods.

For unsubsidized loans, the borrower is responsible for paying interest during the in-school or grace periods, or a post-school deferment.

Private Loans

Private loans, offered by banks and financial institutions, are based on your credit profile.

  • Student and/or co-signer must be creditworthy as determined by the lender
  • Eligibility criteria may vary per lender (citizenship, degree-seeking, Satisfactory Academic Progress, and enrollment)
  • The private loan combined with other aid cannot exceed the total estimated Cost of Attendance
  • The loan application process with the lender must be completed before the school can certify and award the loan


  • All private education loan borrowers must complete a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form and submit the form to their lender of choice before the private loan can be consummated.
  • Students must accept, reduce or decline any Federal Direct Loan via myWings before a private loan can be processed for the same loan term.
  • Complete a private loan application with the lender you have selected.
    • Your private lender will notify you if you have been approved or denied.
  • Select your loan period.
    • Acceptable loan periods are either fall or spring, fall/spring combined, or summer only.
    • Students must apply separately per loan period.
  • After the full loan application process with the lender is complete, the lender will send the School Certification request to UNF for final approval.
    • Once UNF receives the certification request, it can take up to 10 business days to process.

Please Note: We suggest that you do not apply more than six (6) weeks before the term begins to avoid credit check expiration.

Loan Period Start Date End Date
Fall 2023 8/21/2023 12/15/2023
Fall 2023/Spring 2024 8/21/2023 5/3/2024
Spring 2024 1/18/2024 5/3/2024
Summer 2024 5/13/2024 8/2/2024

Federal Direct Loans vs. Private Education Loans

If you are still trying to decide between a private loan and a Federal Direct Loan, below are some things to consider.

You may prefer a Federal Direct Loan if you:

  • Like the certainty that a fixed-rate loan provides
  • Your credit is Good, Fair, or Poor; your cost will likely be lower
  • Like the protection of greater deferment and forbearance options
  • You prefer repayment incentives that reduce your interest rate to less than 8.5%
  • Do not mind an initial origination fee
  • Need at least 10 years to repay the loan

You may prefer the Private Education Loan if you:

  • Are comfortable with the possibility of variable interest rates
  • Believe there is little possibility that you may use the deferment or forbearance options
  • Plan to borrow the loan only for a short time and plan to repay it quickly


Private loan disbursement

Federal regulations require a three business day “right to cancel” period, beginning after you receive your final loan disclosure from your lender. Lenders cannot release your first loan disbursement until after this time period has passed. This waiting period applies to most private education loans. Private loan disbursements will occur on the Wednesday following 14 days after your loan has been certified by UNF.

Remember to review all terms of the disclosure statements for interest rates, fees, loan balance, and the number of payments.