Private education loans are credit-based consumer loans that can be used to pay any post-secondary education-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books, and transportation.  Always consider your lowest-cost options first, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans. 

After exhausting loan opportunities available from the federal aid programs, some students may consider private loan programs as an additional source of funding.  Cornell College maintains a list of suggested private loan lenders that we believe offer strong customer service, competitive loan terms and easy loan processing.  Eligibility for private loans is based on credit-worthiness and ability to repay, not on financial need.  While private loans are borrowed by the student, most private loans require a co-signer and offer deferment of principal payments while the student is enrolled.

We recommend that students and families read Questions to Consider before Selecting a Private Loan (PDF) to become more familiar with this type of loan.

Preferred Lender List Disclosures

In an effort to provide better counseling services to our students, Cornell College has entered into a preferred lender arrangement (PLA).  Federal and state law mandates that we must provide the following disclosures in association with this process:

Method and Criteria for Lender Selection:

To determine which lenders and loan options to present, Cornell College evaluated and selected lenders based on requested information from lenders.   Ease in processing was an important consideration; therefore, we narrowed the scope of lenders to consider to lenders that route their loans for electronic certification and disbursement.   We recognize lenders who provide you with exceptional customer service, competitive interest rates and no origination fees whenever possible.  We also considered borrower benefits, electronic application and processing, and the most widely used lenders by current and former students.

Why we selected the lenders for our preferred lender list:   After reviewing the information submitted by each lender, we felt the lenders represented on our list best fit the criteria we set forth.

This list does not contain affiliated lenders.

Cornell has a published Student Loan Code of Conduct that must be followed.

The Choice is Yours:  Students may borrow from any lender they choose and are not required to use a lender on Cornell's preferred lender list.  Cornell College will process loans from any eligible lender you select.

The maximum Title IV Grant aid and Title IV loan aid available to students:

Federal and state law also mandates that we disclose the maximum amounts of Federal Grant and Loan assistance that are available.  Maximum eligibility for Federal financial aid is based on the results of the FAFSA and is outlined on the student's award letter.  Federal financial aid has better terms and conditions than private student loans and we strongly encourage students to utilize that aid first.  The following is a list of maximum awards in each program:

Pell Grant - $5,550

SEOG - $4,000 (Award amounts are dependent on federal funding with a typical Cornell award maximum being $500)

TEACH Grant - $4,000

Direct Loan - $5,500 (freshman class); $6,500 (sophomore class); $7,500 (junior class and above); Independent students can receive an additional $4,000 (freshman and sophomore class) or $5,000 (junior class and above)

Perkins Loan - $5,500 (Award amounts are dependent on federal funding with a typical Cornell award maximum being $500)

PLUS Loan - a credit-based loan for parent borrowers with a maximum determined by the difference between cost of attendance and the student's financial aid award

State financial aid options:

Click on State Scholarships and Grants for information on financing options that are available in the state of Iowa.

Terms and conditions of Title IV loans that are more favorable than private education loans:
When financing your education, a direct loan should be your first choice once you have already collected any scholarships and grants you may be eligible to receive.  Direct loans are fixed rate federal student loans guaranteed by the government. They can be used to pay for educational related expenses. Direct loans have a number of benefits all designed to help make paying for college more affordable.  One of the most important direct loan benefits is the fixed interest rate.  Federal Direct loans have a fixed rate of 4.66% for the 2014-2015 academic year.   

Affordable Repayment Plans

Direct loan repayment plans are designed to provide flexibility for any budget. Once you complete school and enter repayment, you will have the option to pick from a number of helpful plans:

Standard Repayment - A fixed amount each month based on your principle and interest.

Graduated Repayment - Lower payments at the beginning of repayment then, over time, payments increase.

Income Based Repayment - Monthly payments are based on yearly income and loan amount.

Extended Repayment - For loans totaling more than $30,000, this plan offers a choice of fixed or graduated payments over a period of up to 25 years.

Preferred Lender List

The Financial Aid Office is utilizing FASTChoice, a loan comparison tool offered by Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation which allows students to compare up to three different loans side-by-side.

By clicking on the following link, you will be directed away from the Cornell College Financial Aid Office website.  We encourage you to bookmark this page for future reference.  Enter FASTChoice now to view private loan products that are a part of our preferred lender list.

Private Loan Next Steps

Once a borrower has been approved by a lender to receive a private student loan, it is crucial to follow up with both the Financial Aid Office and the lender to ensure that funds are received.  The following are suggested action steps to take for timely disbursement of loan proceeds:

1.      When the loan has been approved by the lender, notify the Financial Aid Office of both the lender's name and the dollar amount being borrowed.  This will allow us to add the loan to the student's record as a pending source of financial aid.  It will also serve as a mechanism that will allow us to follow up with the lender if the funds are not received timely.
2.      Pay attention to communication received from the lender.  Due to banking regulations, borrowers must complete a Self Certification Form and actively accept the loan prior to disbursement.  Accepting the loan may involve more than simply signing a promissory note.
3.      If loan proceeds are not received within 30 days of application, the borrower is encouraged to contact the lender to determine the loan's status.
4.      Continue to follow up with the lender if loan proceeds are not received.  After a certain time frame determined by the lender, the loan will be canceled if it cannot be disbursed due to missing paperwork.
5.      As always, please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if there are remaining questions that cannot be answered by the lender.


 If you have additional questions regarding private loans, please contact the Office of Financial Assistance at Cornell.

Preferred Lender Arrangements are required to be reviewed annually to ensure that competitive products that are in the best interest of the student borrower are being offered.  Please provide us with feedback regarding any positive and/or negative aspects that may have been experienced when working with a particular lender.  Feedback can be left at

Phone:  Toll Free 1-877-579-4049

                Local:  319-895-4216