FAQ's of Private Student Loans


Before You Apply

No, it is not a requirement to complete the FAFSA form before applying for a LendKey loan. Although it is not a requirement, it is strongly advised to submit your FAFSA form ahead of time so you know what federal aid you qualify for.

You can complete the FAFSA online at fafsa.ed.gov. You’ll need to create an FSA ID, gather all relevant information, and keep track of both federal and local submission deadlines at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/deadlines. It’s best to submit FAFSA as soon as possible because the deadline is June 30th. For more information, reach out to your school’s financial aid office.

Federal student loans are provided by the federal government, while private student loans come from private financial institutions, like banks and credit unions.

A key difference is that federal student loans are more accessible. You can receive a federal student loan without a cosigner or credit history. Furthermore, there are generally beneficial repayment options with federal loans that may not be available with certain private student loans. However, there are borrowing limits on federal student loans, and students may have to supplement them with other funding options.

A private student loan serves as a way for you to fill the funding gap between the cost of attending school and the amount in federal loans, grants, and scholarships available to you. Private student loans are credit-based loans, so you may need to demonstrate an established credit history or have a cosigner with an established credit history in order to qualify. To learn more about the differences between private student loans and federal student loans, visit our blog.

You may be able to borrow up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance. This may include tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other related education expenses. To figure out what expenses are part of your institution’s cost of attendance, check out your school’s financial aid website or contact your school’s financial aid office directly.

We typically recommend applying at least one month prior to when the funds are due or earlier. Conditional approval for a loan may occur quickly after an initial review of your application and credit report, however it is not final approval since you may be asked to submit additional supporting documentation (e.g., proof of income, identification, etc.). Your school must also certify your loan, which may add more time to your application process. While it generally takes less than thirty days to process and certify a loan, in some instances it may take several weeks.

You will need to know the school you are attending, the academic period you are applying for, the loan amount you are requesting, your social security number, and cosigner contact information if you are applying with one.

Yes, your loan can be used to cover a past-due balance if the application is received within ninety (90) days of the end of your previous academic period. You must also be registered and enrolled in the current academic period at the same institution.

Applying for the whole academic year means you may receive some or all of your education funding with one application and a single credit check. You may also apply for a single academic period at a time. Interest only accrues on the funds that have been disbursed and there is no penalty to cancel any additional future disbursements. Whichever option is best for you depends on the strength of you and/or your cosigner’s credit profile at the time of application.

Loan funds are disbursed directly to your institution. The school will then apply those funds directly to your outstanding tuition balance. If there are leftover funds after the school applies the loan to your outstanding balance, the remainder may be refunded in accordance with your school’s refund policy.

Loan funds are disbursed directly to your institution. The school will then apply those funds directly to your outstanding tuition balance. If there are leftover funds after the school applies the loan to your outstanding balance, the remainder may be refunded in accordance with your school’s refund policy.

This loan may be used for qualified education-related expenses that are certified by your institution. This may include tuition, room & board, transportation expenses, laptop, textbooks, and related materials. To figure out what expenses are part of your institution’s cost of attendance, check out your school’s financial aid website or contact your school’s financial aid office directly.

Your cost of attendance includes tuition and may also include expenses such as room & board, transportation, books, supplies, and various other school-related expenses. We recommend checking your institution’s financial aid website or getting in contact with your financial aid office directly to determine your cost of attendance and what expenses can be included.

There is certain information that may be edited after an application is submitted, but some changes require starting a new application. Please contact us at 888-549-9050 or email us at customer.care@lendkey.com if there is information you would like to edit after the application is submitted.

Cosigner Information

A cosigner is not required, but it may improve your chances of getting approved. Private student loans offered on LendKey’s website are credit-based, so a credit and income review will be performed. It can be difficult as a student to have an established credit history and a steady source of income, so a cosigner may help meet the loan application guidelines. Furthermore, a cosigner with an established credit history may help you qualify for better terms that could save you money in the long-term.

Typically, your cosigner may be a parent, grandparent, guardian or other adult who is creditworthy and willing to assume legal responsibility for the loan liabilities along with you. A cosigner may increase your chances of approval or help you qualify for better terms.

For the cosigner portion of the application, you will need to provide information such as your permanent address, social security number, and income information.

On the first page of the borrower application, there will be a question asking you if you would like to apply with a cosigner. After selecting “yes”, the next page of the application will allow you to enter your cosigner’s name and email address so we can email them a link to complete the cosigner part of the application.

The cosigner shares the same responsibilities as the borrower for the loan. This includes ensuring on-time monthly payments. That means as the cosigner, you may experience the same positive impact on your credit score as the borrower for making on-time monthly payments but will likely face the same negative credit impact for late or missed payments.

Cosigner release is subject to lender approval. In order to qualify, the borrower, alone, must meet the following requirements: (1) Make the required number of consecutive, on-time full principal and interest payments as indicated in the borrower’s credit agreement during the repayment period (excluding interest-only payments) immediately prior to the request. Any period of forbearance will reset the repayment clock; (2) The account cannot be in delinquent status; (3) The borrower must provide proof of income indicating that he/she meets the income requirements and pass a credit review demonstrating that he/she has a satisfactory credit history and the ability to assume full responsibility of loan repayment; (4) No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the last sixty months; and (5) No loan defaults.

Yes, on the last page of the borrower application there will be a section that will allow you to add an authorized user who we will be able to communicate with regarding your loan. If you add an authorized user, you will need to provide their name, phone number, and email address. There are limitations to what information can be disclosed to the authorized user versus the borrower or cosigner.

After the borrower part of the application has been completed an email will be sent to the cosigner with a link to click to enter the cosigner’s information. If the e-mail cannot be found, please have the student’s last name, last 4 of their SSN, and date of birth ready and click here. This link will help you access the application.

Eligibility

No, you do not have to be a full-time student to qualify for a student loan. However, you must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program from an eligible school.

The age of majority is the age at which you are considered a legal adult by your state. In most states, the age of majority is 18, but it may be higher. It is important to check to see what it is for your specific state. Our participating lenders cannot generally lend to individuals who are below the age of majority.

The conditional approval of your loan is based on an initial credit review and is not tied to your requested loan amount, so requesting a lower loan amount will not improve your chances of being approved.

Students can apply for this loan if they are enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program from an approved school. This application is credit-based, so if you do not have an established credit history and a steady source of income, a cosigner may be needed. All applicants must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must be at least the age of majority in their state of residence.

Overview

Since 2009, credit unions and banks have partnered with LendKey to assist borrowers by offering various loan options through our digital platform. Our mission is to improve lives through lending made simple.

LendKey’s application process is streamlined and simple, and our partners offer competitive interest rates. Our goal is to improve lives with lending made simple. The lenders we partner with are mostly credit unions and community banks that prioritize customer service and member happiness. These lenders have the advantage of our platform automating much of the loan process, allowing them to pass the savings along to you!

LendKey’s application process is streamlined and simple, and our partners offer competitive interest rates. Our goal is to improve lives with lending made simple. The lenders we partner with are predominantly credit unions and community banks that prioritize customer service and member satisfaction. These lenders have the advantage of our digital platform automating much of the loan process, allowing them to pass the savings along to you!

A credit union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution that provides financial services for its members. Credit Unions are owned by their members and their main purpose is to serve the financial needs of their membership. Because of this mission, credit unions are on the forefront of providing thrift and high-value financial products and customer service to their members. More than 90 million Americans belong to a credit union, and it’s estimated that another 40 million qualify for credit union membership according to “field of membership” rules. There are more than 7,000 credit unions across the country.

Please review your Private Education Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure for information, as this may vary based on your lender.

Returning Borrowers

Yes, if you need an additional loan, you will need to complete a new application. To apply for an additional loan, you need to log in to your account and select “Apply For An Additional Loan”.

If you already have a loan through us, you can update your email address by logging in to your account and selecting “Change my email address”.

If you have created an account with LendKey before, you can use this link to change your password.

Terms

No, there are no application fees or origination fees when applying for a LendKey Private Student Loan.

This is a credit-based loan, so the interest rate you receive will be determined based on a review of your credit profile. If you are applying with a cosigner, we will use the better of the two credit profiles when determining the interest rate.

A fixed interest rate is consistent and will never change, whereas a variable rate may increase or decrease monthly based on a rate index (see your Private Education Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure for more information when you apply). This means your monthly payment may fluctuate over time.

The fixed interest rate will never change throughout the life of the loan. This may make it easier to plan ahead because you will always know the interest you will be charged. The variable rate you are offered when your application has been conditionally approved may be lower than the fixed rate offered. This means that if the rate index decreases or remains consistent, you may save money over time over the fixed rate, but the opposite occurs if the rate index increases. When selecting a variable rate, it is important to understand that when the rate increases, so does your required payment amount.

Your interest rate represents the amount of money that your lender is charging you to borrow money. An APR, or annual percentage rate, includes any additional loan fees (if applicable), which may cause the APR to be higher than the interest rate.

Your monthly payment depends on numerous variables such as your principal loan balance, loan term, interest rate, and repayment plan selected. To estimate your expected monthly payment, check out our student loan payment calculator.

The grace period is a 6-month period of time that begins once you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program. After the grace period, you must begin making regular principal and interest payments.

If you apply for a student loan with a creditworthy cosigner, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate, reducing the cost over your loan term. Additionally, making monthly payments while in school may reduce the total amount of interest that accrues on your loan, saving you money in the long run. After graduation, you could refinance your student loans to shorten your loan term and/or interest rate.

You can receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you sign up to automate payments from your checking or savings account each month.

No, there are no prepayment penalties, and such payments will be applied in accordance with your loan agreement.

Your lender may offer forbearance for students facing financial hardship during the repayment period. In forbearance, no monthly payment is required but interest still accrues and may be capitalized (i.e., added to your principal balance) when you exit the forbearance period. Certain conditions must be met in order to be approved for forbearance.

LendKey will be the servicer of your loan. To reach our loan servicing department with any questions, you may call us at 888-966-9268 or email us at servicing@lendkey.com