Education Loan Programs

Education loan programs are most frequently used to fund education due to federal subsidies, the incorporation of in-school deferment options, and/or possible tax advantages (depending on the specific loan).

Since each loan is credit-based, parents and/or students with credit problems may need to seek a cosigner to take advantage of these options. Unlike a home equity loan, these loans are intended solely for educational purposes, thus a borrower may not receive more than the budgeted cost of attendance less any financial aid received.

The loan programs featured in our BorrowSmart loan comparison tool are the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, MEFA Undergraduate Loan, MEFA Student Alternative Loan, MEFA Graduate Loan, Citizens Bank TruFit Loan,  Collegiate Custom Choice Loan, cuScholar Private Student Loan, Discover Student Loan and MBA Loan, EDvestinU Private Student Loan, PNC Solution Loan, RISLA Student Loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan, Union Federal Graduate Private Student Loan, and the Wells Fargo Collegiate Loan and Graduate Loan.  These loans were chosen based on their competitive interest rates, their flexible deferment and repayment options and their exceptional customer service.  Students and families are advised to compare the loans featured in BorrowSmart with other private loan products to determine the loan that best suits their needs.

Students and parents have the right to select the private education loan provider of their choice, and are not required to use any of the lenders or loans listed in BorrowSmart.  

Brandeis University strongly encourages students to exhaust all federal sources of financial aid before considering private loans.  To apply for federal aid, the student and, if applicable, the parents must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at  Title IV federal assistance includes the Federal Pell Grant (awards range from$605- $5,645 for undergraduates), the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (awards range from $1,000 to $1,500 for undergraduates),  Federal Direct Stafford Loans (maximum of $5,500/year for first-year students, $6,500 per year for sophomores, $7,500 per year for juniors and seniors and $20,500 for graduate students), and Perkins Loans (maximum of $5,500 per year).