Carnegie Mellon University

Private Education Loans

Private education loans, also called alternative or non-federal education loans, may be available to students who do not qualify for federal loans — for example, international students or to students who wish to borrow private loans in lieu of or in combination with federal loans. International students who apply for private loans generally must have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

Eligibility and Enrollment Requirements

Total financial aid from all sources, including loans, must not exceed the published cost of attendance and the school must certify your eligibility. Private loans are unavailable for periods of non-enrollment regardless of student account charges. Students and/or cosigners must meet all lender credit and other eligibility requirements in order to qualify.

Consider Benefits of Federal Loans Before Opting for a Private Loan

U.S. students should understand all the benefits of borrowing federal loans before opting to borrow a private education loan. These benefits may include such things an unemployment and economic hardship deferments, death and disability benefits, hardship forbearance, loan cancellation for certain public service employment, and/or liberal repayment options such as graduated repayment, income-based repayment, etc. See for more information about federal loan benefits.


The private loan application process [pdf] takes several weeks to complete. Students are advised to expect approximately six weeks for the private loan process. The loan application process is a proactive process between you and your lender so borrowers should keep in close contact with their lender to make sure that the application process is progressing as expected. Please note that the school does not take action on your private loan until you and/or your lender complete all required steps and you have submitted a Private Loan Borrower Form [pdf].

Applying for Private Loans

Preliminary Steps

Select and apply with any lender you wish even if the lender is not shown on our historical lender list. Most students/cosigners apply online. All international loan applicants generally are required to apply with a co-borrower who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States. 

Once your loan application has been credit approved by your lender, you must submit the Private Loan Borrower Form [pdf] to the Tepper School Financial Aid Office before beginning the next steps.

Next Steps

All steps must be completed in order to finalize the loan process. View the next steps [pdf].