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Private Loan Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding private student loans.

Does a student need to complete the FAFSA before a private loan will be certified?
Ozarka strongly encourages students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to pursuing a private loan. Federal Direct Loans tend to offer lower fixed interest rates and benefits that private loans may not offer.
NOTE: Some lenders require the FAFSA be completed.

Does a student need to complete the verification process before a private loan is certified?
Yes. A private loan will not be certified until the verification process is completed.

Which lender should I use for a private loan?
Per federal regulation, Ozarka is prohibited from referring a student to any lender. However, Ozarka does offer a private loan comparison tool on our website called FASTChoice. Ozarka does advise students to do some "shopping" to find the loan that works best for them.

Why was my loan not approved for the amount that I requested?
The maximum private loan a student can borrow is calculated in the following way: Cost of Attendance (COA) - Total of all federal or state aid, scholarships, and waivers = Private loan eligibility
The cost of attendance (COA) is not the bill that you may get from Ozarka; it is the total estimated amount it will cost you to go to college each year. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care.

Private loans must be within a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA). Depending on the loan period they requested, it may have to be reduced. If a student is requesting a loan for a single term, Ozarka will use only one semester’s COA to approve a loan amount.

Example: Student has a full year COA of $18,000. They have been awarded $5,500 in Federal Direct Loans for the year and a scholarship of $1000 for the fall. They are requesting a private loan for fall only of $10,000. The loan can only be certified for $5,250 for a fall only loan. Ozarka would use $9,000 as the COA and subtract the aid received that semester ($3,750) which leaves $5,250 for a private loan maximum.

What is the time line for a private loan?
This will depend on you and the lender. Loan approvals can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. If the lender has all the paperwork they require to complete the loan, they will send the request for certification to Ozarka. Certification by Ozarka can take up to two weeks.

NOTE: August, September and January are the months when volume is very high, please allow additional time during these months. Some lenders may then request additional paperwork to be completed by the student once they receive the certification from the school. When the student completes all requirements of the lender, they will start the rescission period. The rescission period is generally 8 business days. If the student fails to complete the items the lender requires, the loan funds will not be sent to the school. If the student would like to know the exact date the lender will send the funds to the school they should contact the lender directly.

What happens to my private loan if I transfer to another school?
Private loans will not transfer with you. You will need to apply for another loan at the new school using the new school’s information.

If I applied for a private loan and did not qualify because I was not meeting the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), but filed an appeal and am now meeting SAP, will my loan be processed?
You will need to notify the Financial Aid Office regarding your SAP appeal approval.

Get started by clicking on the FastChoice icon below
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Here to Help

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Pamela Miller
Financial Aid Specialist
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Tania Wallace
Director of Financial Aid
Contact the Financial Aid Office
Phone: 870.368.2009