Private Loans

After considering all the resources available through the Teachers College Office of Financial Aid, some students need further assistance and choose to secure a private loan through a lender of their choice.

Note: The Office of Financial Aid does not promote or work with one particular private loan lender.

Before seeking a private loan, you should first:

  • Exhaust all other federal aid resources. In this situation, it may be best to speak directly with a counselor in our office.
  • Note that in terms of repayment, many private lenders will not be as flexible as the federal lenders will be.
  • Discuss alternative payment options and plans with the Office of the Bursar.
  • If you decide to borrow from a private lender, here are some things to consider:
    • Borrow only what you need to pay your expenses.
    • Fully understand the terms and conditions associated with your loan.
    • Use comparison charts and checklists to ensure that you find the best deal with regard to grace periods, interest rates, and repayment options.
    • Remember that borrowing now will impact your life in the future.
    • Revisit your goals, and work to thoroughly understand what you will face during repayment. 

Alternative Loans take longer to process than federal loans due to the multiple disclosure statements and right-to-cancel periods required by federal lending laws. Please read carefully to understand the process.

1. Select your preferred lender and apply through the lender’s website.

 - When applying for your loan, you will be asked for your Loan Term. The loan term can be for one or both semesters in the academic year. Please use the dates below to determine your preferred loan term. IMPORTANT: When inputting the dates on your application, only indicate the dates that coincide with the academic year you are applying for, not the entirety of your program.



Start Date

End Date

Fall 2023 



Spring 2024

01/16/2024 05/06/2024

Summer 2024




2. Complete the Application Disclosure Statement from your lender. Ask your lender questions if you are unsure of any information.

3. Submit the Self-Certification formto your lender. 

4. If approved, you will be asked to complete an Approval Disclosure Statement from the lender.

5. The Office of Financial Aid will then receive your loan request from the lender and certify the loan. 

  • Note: Please allow 7-10 business days for certfying submitted private loan applications. 

6. Once the Office of Financial Aid certifies the loan, you will receive a Final Loan Disclosure Statement from the lender.

7. Once the funds arrive at Teachers College, Office of the Bursar will apply the funds to your account as needed.

  • Note: All processed private loan aid will only be disbursed after the start of each academic term and we are unable to disburse your loan in advance before the semester begins.

Learn how to Avoid Deceptive Offers and understand the differences between Federal vs. Private Loans.

Students can borrow up their overall cost of attendance (COA) less any other aid resources (i.e., scholarships, grants, federal student aid, etc.). To determine the maximum amount you may borrow, take the COA and subtract any other financial aid awards received. Students can view their COA and award offer on their myTC. Students can also view a breakdown of the institution’s COA here.

Federal regulations require lenders to obtain a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form before disbursing a private student loan. The purpose of this form is to ensure students are aware of other aid resources, such as federal student aid, that may offer better terms and conditions than a private loan. Students who apply for a private student loan must complete this form and return it to the lender (not Teachers College).

Teachers College will receive notification directly from the lender once a student has been credit approved, and the Office of Financial Aid will certify the request based on enrollment and the overall cost of attendance. After a private student loan is certified by the Office of Financial Aid, please allow up to 7-10 business days for processing with the lender. Once the funds arrive at Teachers College, Office of the Bursar will apply the funds to your account as needed. Please note that all processed private loan aid will only be disbursed after the start of each academic term and we are unable to disburse your loan in advance before the semester begins.

Teachers College-Columbia University , Office of Financial Aid, code of conduct for Educational Loans prohibits:

  • Revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender
  • Employees within the financial aid office awarding  aid to themselves or their immediate family members.
  • Contracting arrangement providing financial benefit from any lender or affiliate of a lender
  • Financial aid staff taking action that is for their personal benefit or could be perceived to be a conflict of interest.
  • The Financial Aid Office from denying, impeding, or unnecessarily delaying a borrower's choice of a lender
  • Employees of the Financial Aid Office soliciting or accepting any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. 
  • The Financial Aid Office from providing information that is not accurate, biased, and reflects preference arising from actual or potential personal gain. 

*** All required consumer information shall be displayed in a prominent location on the Financial Aid Office website and in any printed materials, easily identified and found.

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