The Difference Between Certified and Uncertified Private Student Loans

During your student loan research, you might’ve come across the terms certified and uncertified private loans. But what exactly do those mean? And is it bad to look at uncertified loans?

Three jars of coins in a row.

Certified Private Loans

Nowadays, most lenders offer certified private loans. This means that the college and lender will communicate with each other about your loan. The lender will verify that you’re enrolled, that the loan you took out doesn’t exceed the cost of attendance, and that you’ll use the funds for educational purposes only. In fact, certified loans are sent to your college directly, so the financial aid office can apply them to your account, covering your tuition, room & board, fees, and other expenses.

Certified loans also tend to have a lower interest rate and can be tax-deductible.

Uncertified Private Loans

If a student loan is uncertified, it means the lender is not in contact with your school (or vice versa). Instead, the funds will go directly to you, to use as you see fit. With uncertified loans, it can be easy to borrow more than you strictly need, or use them on expenses not directly related to your education. To some, this freedom is intimidating, to others, it gives them a sense of more control. So uncertified loans aren’t inherently bad, but they’re certainly not for every borrower.

Uncertified loans also tend to have a higher interest rate and aren’t always tax-deductible.

Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side.


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Sallie Mae logo.
1.13% to 11.23%1 Variable
3.50% to 12.60%1 Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
1.04% to 13.19% Variable
3.00% to 14.14% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
1.49% to 7.64% Variable >800 FICO
3.99% to 7.64% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
1.82% to 11.32% Variable
3.27% to 12.46% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Ave company logo.
0.99% to 11.98% Variable
2.99% to 12.99% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
3.47% to 6.11% Variable
4.60% to 7.40% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
1.04% to 11.44% Variable
3.34% to 12.78% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
1.20% to 11.59% Variable
3.31% to 11.99% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
1Variable interest rates start from 4.12% APR to 10.98% APR. We also offer fixed interest rates from 5.74% APR to 11.85% APR. Click here for important information. Terms, conditions, and limitations apply.
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.

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