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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?

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.