important information

PRIOR TO APPLYING FOR PRIVATE FINANCING: Students should exhaust all Federal Title IV assistance available, including Federal Pell Grants, the Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan and the Federal Parent PLUS Loan before considering a private student loan program. The repayment terms of federal loan programs may be more favorable than the terms of private loan programs.

Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide. Federal Direct Loans are available to students regardless of income.

  • Private student loans may not be included in Federal Direct Consolidation Loans.
  • Private student loans are not eligible for Federal Income-Based Repayment Plans.
  • Private student loans are not eligible for Federal Economic Hardship Deferments.

how to apply

  • If you did not apply for need-based financial aid, log in to your My Financial Aid and Documents account and go to the "Document Library" to complete and submit a Enrollment and Housing (Supplemental) Form online for the appropriate academic year.
  • Review your and your co-borrower's credit report to ensure accuracy.
  • Apply online with the lender of your choice.  The lender must approve the student's credit—and that of the co-borrower, if appropriate—and receive the signed promissory note and all necessary documentation before they can contact USC to certify the loan. USC processes these requests promptly.

    The federal government now requires students applying for private loans to complete and sign a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form.  Your lender will send this form to you to complete as part of the application process.  The form is also available in our Forms page.  Submit the form directly to your lender.  You will be asked to provide your estimated cost of attendance and estimated financial aid eligibility.  If you applied for financial aid, you can obtain this information from your award summary or online at My Financial Aid and Documents. Students who have not applied for aid, should refer to the undergraduate cost or graduate costs to obtain the necessary information.

general Information

Private financing programs are unsecured educational loans made by private financial institutions such as a banks or credit unions. These are loans that must be repaid with interest.

  • Interest rates, origination and repayment fees for this loan program are based on the credit-worthiness of the borrower and/or co-borrower.
  • You can borrow up to the USC estimated cost of attendance, including tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, books and supplies, and even transportation, less other aid received.
  • Undergraduates will generally need to apply with a credit-worthy co-borrower. Graduate students may obtain better rates by applying with a credit-worthy co-borrower.
  • Interest rates will vary on a monthly or quarterly basis and may not have a maximum rate.
  • Repayment generally begins immediately after full disbursement.
  • Some lenders may defer (postpone) repayment during periods of at least half-time enrollment and economic hardship; however, interest will accrue on the loan from the date it is disbursed.
  • To reduce the cost of borrowing, consider making in-school interest or interest + principal payments.
  • Rules for repayment and deferment vary from lender to lender. Check with your lender for more information.

Private Financing Lenders

The following is a list of private loan programs made to USC students over the past three years.  USC does not prefer, recommend, promote, endorse, or suggest any of these lenders.

The use of a lender on the USC list is not required. USC will process loans from any eligible lender the student selects.  USC may not deny or otherwise impede the borrower's choice of a lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification for those borrowers who choose a lender not included on the lender list below. 

The private financing programs are presented on this page in alphabetical order. For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at

Although every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the content of this publication is subject to change due to alterations in federal, state, university or lender policy or procedure. The USC Financial Aid Office cannot be held liable for the consequences of such changes in policy or procedure. The most current information can be found by contacting the lenders directly at the customer service numbers provided below.  To learn more about each program's potential rates and fees, please review the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) Application and Solicitation Disclosure provided below.

Financing Option Lender Name Truth in Lending Act (TILA) Application and Solicitation Disclosure Telephone Number Enrolled Less Than Half-time Not Admitted to a Degree or Certificate Program (Limited Status) Not maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal and USC Financial Aid Purposes For Past Periods of Enrollment
Custom Choice Loan Program Suntrust/ FirstMarblehead Custom Choice TILA 866-230-5609 No No Yes Yes, within 30 days
Discover Student Loan Discover Student Loans Discover TILA 800-788-3368 Yes No No No
cuScholar Private Student Loan CUStudentLoans CUStudentLoans TILA 888-549-9050 No No Minimum Cumulative GPA 2.0 Yes, within 90 days if still enrolled.
Kinecta Student Private Loan Program Kinecta Kinecta TILA 866-272-0433 No No Yes No
PNC Solution Loan PNC PNC TILA 800-762-1001 No No Yes Yes, within 90 days
Smart Option Loan Sallie Mae Sallie Mae TILA 866-439-0993 Yes Yes Yes Yes, within 1 year
Sofi Student Loan Sofi Sofi TILA 866-357-6342 No No No Yes, within 1
Citizens One Student Loan Citizens One Citizens One TILA 800-721-3969 No No Yes Yes, within 180 days
Union Federal Private Student Loan Union Federal Union Federal TILA 866-513-8445 No No Yes Yes, within 90 days
Wells Fargo Collegiate Loan Wells Fargo Wells Fargo TILA 800-658-3567 Yes Yes Yes Yes, within 30 days if no longer enrolled.

Each of the following states offers an alternative loan program specifically for its residents.  If you are a resident of one of these states, be sure to review the alternative loan information by clicking on the name of the state in the table below or calling the number provided

States Telephone Number
Alaska 800-441-2962
Connecticut 800-935-2275
Iowa 800-243-7552
Massachusetts 800-266-0243
Minnesota 800-657-3866
New Jersey 800-792-8670
Rhode Island 800-758-7562
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