Beyond Stafford

As the cost of college rises, so does the stress of paying for it.

With undergraduate tuition at Grand Valley State University costing more than $9,700 per year for lower level students in the 2011-2012 academic year, the cost of tuition alone exceeds the $5,500 Stafford loan limit offered to first year students. Additional expenses from housing, transportation, books and fees leave some students seeking additional private loans to fund their education.

According to the Project on Student Debt, 14 percent of undergraduate students took out private loans in 2007, up from 5 percent in 2003. Many private lenders charge higher interest rates and offer shorter or no deferment periods, students with limited scholarships or who carry part-time credit loads sometimes find them to be their only choice.

However, there are smart private loan options. The Financial Aid Office at GVSU recommends student loans offered by Sallie Mae, 5/3 Bank, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Chase Bank. Below, the Lanthorn has compiled data about popular alternative loans to help you with your next lending decision.

To read the Financial Aid Office’s list of suggested lenders, visit

[email protected]


Private loan information


Bank loan


Maximum or minimum amount of money available

Repayment period

Interest rate

Deferred payments

Additional information

Chase Bank: Select Loan

Must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program

Loans up to your cost of attendance (minus other aid), but no more than the amount certified by your school

Up to 20 years for loans less than $30,000 and up to 25 years for loans greater than $30,000

Ranges from 3.81 to 9.81 percent


Funds are sent directly to the school

CitiAssist Undergrad and Graduate Loans (Citibank)

Available to students enrolled at least part-time at an accredited college or university in the U.S.

Undergraduates can borrow up to $120,000; graduates can borrow up to $150,000

Up to 15 years for undergraduate loans and up to 20 years for graduate loans

Ranges from 3.0 to 9.25 percent for undergrads and 3.5 to 7.75 percent for graduate

Yes, with a six-month grace period after graduation

Available to international students who apply with an eligible U.S. co-signer.

CitiAsist Health Professions Loan (Citibank)

For students pursuing advanced medical and dental degrees

Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance, with a lifetime limit of $275,000

Up to 25 years

Ranges from 3.5 to 9.5 percent

Yes, with a nine month grace period following graduation

An additional $18,000 may be awarded to cover board review courses, residency interviews and relocation

CitiAssist Law Loan (Citibank)

For students pursuing advanced degrees in law

Students can borrow up to the cost of your education with a lifetime total of up to $180,000

Up 20 years

Ranges from 3.5 to 8.69 percent

Yes, with a nine month grace period following graduation

An additional $15,000 is available to cover expenses related to the Bar Exam during final two years of school

5/3 Bank: Federal Stafford Loan

Students must a U.S. citizen, enrolled in school part-time and demonstrate financial need

Loan limits vary based on class standing and independent or dependant status

Flexible repayment options

Ranges from 5.6 to 6.8 percent

Yes, with a six month grace period following graduation

No credit check required

5/3 Bank SMART Loan Option

Students must be enrolled in at least one credit hour

Minimum loan amount of $1,000

From 5 to 15 years

Ranges from 2.0 to 9.87 percent


Students in school less than part-time are eligible