Private Loans

Private loans are an option for the students who need additional resources to attend college above and beyond any federal or institutional aid they may have received. All loans carry the obligation to repay the amount borrowed with interest and Dominican encourages all students and families to borrow responsibly.

Private loans are another option for students, parents, or sponsors seeking additional resources to meet educational expenses that may not be covered by federal loan programs or other financial aid. If this is your first time learning about private loans, we strongly encourage you to review this entire website before navigating to the private loan search options, specifically the disclosures relating to federal student aid and the SB 1289 Disclosure Statement.

Responsible Borrowing

Dominican University of California strongly encourages students and families to borrow the minimum amount necessary. All loans carry an obligation to be repaid and careful management of the amount borrowed will help minimize the long term expense of repaying private loans.

About Private Loans

  • Most private loans are credit-based and may require a cosigner for the borrower to be approved.
  • The interest rate can be variable or fixed. This rate may be higher or lower than the interest rate of a Federal Direct Loan.
  • The maximum amount that can be borrowed, in most cases, cannot exceed the cost of attendance minus other financial aid.
  • For students who have borrowed multiple private loans and/or federal loans, there are consolidation loans available. If considering consolidating federal loans into a private loan, pay attention to interest rates and there could be a loss of grace period and/or loan forgiveness options.

Private Loan Search

Dominican offers a couple of ways to search and learn about available private loans through FastChoice. This search tool is just that — a tool. A tool to assist students and families as they research the private loan options available. You are not required to select any of these lenders or products. Before borrowing a private loan, we strongly recommend that you maximize your Federal Direct Loan eligibility.

The University is always evaluating the lenders, products, and websites it uses to assist students and families with the private loan search process. A lender will remain on the lender list unless the University has a reason to remove it (such as but not limited to, poor customer service, change in borrower benefits or rates, etc.).

The University requests updated information from the lenders on the preferred lender list periodically. The evaluation process for a lender to be added to and remain on the list includes, but is not limited to a review of the fees associated with the loan, the competitiveness of interest rates, the customer service provided, the electronic application and processing capabilities, the borrower benefits that differentiate the loan product from others, historical use by Dominican students, lender reputation, and/or any unique factors that separate the loan product and/or lender from others.

Fast Choice

FastChoice is a way for you to compare various lenders and loan products that the University has already vetted. This list was compiled based on a thorough review of borrower benefits, customer service, a request for information (RFI) process, other students using a lender or product, and/or other factors.

To review the preferred lender product list, please visit FastChoice.

Disclosures Relating to Federal Student Aid

We strongly encourage all students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to borrowing private loans to determine eligibility for and amount of Federal, State, and Institutional aid for which they may be eligible. By completing the FAFSA, a student could be eligible for Federal, State, or Institutional Grants, Federal Work-Study, or Federal Loans. Learn how to complete a FAFSA on our Apply for Aid page.

In addition, we strongly encourage students and parents to consider borrowing federal loans prior to borrowing private loans. The terms and conditions of federal loans (Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and Direct PLUS Loan) may be more favorable than the terms and conditions of private loans.

The maximum amount of federal grant and loan assistance available to students changes every year. For 2017-2018, a student could be eligible to receive up to the maximum* amount listed below for some or all of the following federal grants and loans:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Loan: $3,500 for first-year students (0-29 units completed), $4,500 for sophomores (30-59 units completed), and $5,500 for juniors and seniors (60+ units completed)
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan:
    • Dependent students: $5,500 for first-year students minus any subsidized loan, $6,500 for sophomores minus any subsidized loan, and $7,500 for juniors and seniors minus any subsidized loan
    • Independent students: $9,500 for first-year students minus any subsidized loan, $10,500 for sophomores minus any subsidized loan, and $12,500 for juniors and seniors minus any subsidized loan
    • Dependent students whose parents are denied the PLUS Loan: $9,500 for first-year students minus any subsidized loan, $10,500 for sophomores minus any subsidized loan, and $12,500 for juniors and seniors minus any subsidized loan
  • Direct PLUS Loan (available to parents of dependent students and graduate students): Cost of attendance minus other financial aid

*The amounts listed are maximums. Students may receive less or they may not be eligible to receive some or all of the awards listed above.

Before Applying for a Private Loan (SB 1289 Disclosure Statement) 

Students and families considering loans to assist with funding educational expenses need to be aware of the differences between federal loans and private loans:

  • Federal loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options including, but not limited to, income-based and income-contingent repayment plans, as well as loan forgiveness benefits that private lenders are not required to provide.
  • Federal loans are available to most students regardless of income. Other qualification criteria do apply. 
  • Private lenders can offer variable interest rates that can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions.
  • The interest rate on a private loan may depend on the borrower's and/or cosigner's credit rating.
  • Private loans have a range of interest rates and fees and the borrower should determine the interest rate of, and any fees associated with, the private loan included in their financial aid award before accepting the loan. Students should contact the lender of the private loan or the Office of Financial Aid if there are any questions about a private loan.

Before applying for a private loan, we encourage students and families to research all options and make sure you understand the interest rate, fees, terms, and conditions of any loan before applying. There is a range of interest rates and fees available and we strongly encourage students to apply with a creditworthy cosigner to potentially obtain a better interest rate and increase the chance of being approved. In addition, you may apply with multiple lenders to find the best loan for you. Student loans are provided special protections under credit reporting rules (similar to mortgages) — as long as you conduct your 'shopping' within a 30-day period, there should be no impact on your FICO score or loan terms (Dominican University of California does not guarantee this, but that is our understanding).  

When determining the amount to borrow in any loan, the borrower should carefully review the necessary expenses and only borrow what is needed rather than the maximum allowed.

Endorsement Disclaimer

Dominican University of California does not endorse any specific lender or any specific product. The lenders and products listed are not ranked and these lists are meant to serve only as a guide for students and families looking for additional options to assist with educational expenses. Dominican University of California does not receive any benefits in exchange for placing a lender on the preferred private loan list or by providing a link to the online private loan marketplace.


If you have questions about private loans, please contact us.