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Financial Literacy FAQ
Private Loans (or Private Education Loans) are funded by banks and other private lending institutions. Students who need additional funds to pay educational costs, and who have exhausted their federal Direct Loan eligibility and other funding resources, may consider borrowing private education loan. This option should be carefully considered.
- Are non-federal loans and do not have the same terms and conditions as federal loans.
- Cannot be combined with federal loans when you enter repayment (this means you cannot include them in a federal loan consolidation, and will have separate loan payments each month when you enter repayment).
- May not offer flexible repayment plans.
- May have a higher interest rate than your federal loans.
- Do not offer public service loan forgiveness.
Similar to home and car loans, lenders have flexibility in setting the interest rate, credit criteria that must be met, and repayment terms.
Lenders may require a co-signer. A co-signer signs the promissory note promising to repay the loan if you don’t. After you enter repayment, some lenders offer a co-signer release. To determine your eligibility for a co-signer release the lender will require a specified number of on-time payments of principle and interest and will pull your credit score and history.
Interest rates are directly related to the credit rating of you and/or your co-signer, so choose a co-signer who has a good credit score.
Choosing a lender
Many factors vary among lenders so it’s in your best interest to research different private loan products and choose one that best fits your needs and circumstances both in the short and long-term.
Things to compare among lenders:
- Interest rates
- Whether accruing interest is added to the principal amount of the loan while you are enrolled in school
- Are there any fees associated with the loan? Ask about both up front and backend fees.
- Are payments required while you are in school? Some lenders require payments while you are in school and some do not. In the long-term, it’s in your best interest to make payments while you are in school but this may not fit in your budget.
- Does the lender offer a cosigner release? If so, what are the conditions you must meet in order to qualify?
Missouri Family Education Loan Program
The Missouri Family Education Loan Program (MOFELP) is a private education loan program that is awarded on a first come, first served basis for eligible, qualified borrowers. Annual loan limits are $500 - $5,000 per year with a 0% interest rate. MOFELP has no additional fees; however borrowers are responsible for a $5 monthly keep-in-touch payment. General eligibility criteria for qualified borrowers includes:
- Enrolled full-time
- Making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
- Accepted full annual loan limits for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
- EFC of $12,000 or less for the current academic year
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Be a United States citizen
- Permanent Missouri resident
- Not have a Bachelor’s degree
- At least 21 on ACT or 1500 on SAT; or have an overall cumulative GPA of 2.50 or higher earned at the Participating School
- Not have a conviction for fraud
- Two year credit history (or have a cosigner with two year credit history)
*MOFELP criteria may be subject to change.
Applications for the Missouri Family Education Loan Program are available online. Submit all completed applications to Student Financial Services via our Secure Document Upload in MyView.
List of Other Private Loan Lenders
The University of Missouri-St. Louis Student Financial Services Office, in a formal review process, reviews loan products from various lenders besides the Missouri Family Education Loan Program (MOFELP). We seek out loan products that are in the best interest of our students. Many factors are used to evaluate each loan product and lender.
The University adheres to a Code of Conduct for Student Loans that prohibits inducements by private lenders. You are not required to select a lender from the link below. You are free to choose any lender and loan product you feel best suits your needs.
To view a list of lenders we selected for comparison click on this link.