Before you apply for a private student loan, we recommend that you exhaust your eligibility for federal and state grants, and federal direct loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS) first. The terms and conditions of federal loans are typically more favorable than those of private loans.
Matriculated students with a complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with Birthingway will receive an award letter with the maximum amount of federal grant and loan assistance available to them for the award year. This information will be very useful to you when determining how much private loan assistance you may want to seek.
All students have a responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Officer if they are borrowing private student loans, so that these loans may be added to the award letter.
What is a Preferred Lender List?
We developed a Preferred Lender List for private student loans in order to help you find the best solutions for funding your education.
Originally, Birthingway decided not to have a preferred lender list because we did not want to limit or direct our student’s borrowing choices to any specific lender. Our goal, instead, was to provide all students with tools and questions for researching lenders and comparing/contrasting loan products. However, we found over time that many of our students had difficulty navigating the private student loan world, and that it was necessary to take a more proactive step to develop a preferred lender list.
A Preferred Lender List is a published list of private loan lenders that is assessed and compiled by Birthingway, and made available to prospective student borrowers. Our belief now is that a preferred lender list will provide a comparison of selected lenders in relatively consistent terms in order to reduce confusion, and assist borrowers and their families in making the best-informed decisions.
Please note that Birthingway does not endorse one lender over another. We encourage our students to shop around for lenders and to feel free to select lenders that do not appear on our list. We will not deny or otherwise impede your choice of a lender that is not included on the list. We also adhere to a Loan Program Code of Conduct with regards to our relationship with lenders.
For tools and questions to ask when researching other private student loan lenders, please read these two documents:
Questions To Ask Before You Borrow
What To Expect When You Are Borrowing
Birthingway reviews the Preferred Lender List annually, and will update or change the lenders as necessary. Lenders are generally selected by Birthingway for review because we have heard about them from students or through mailings/advertisements; we have worked with them in the past; other Portland area post-secondary schools include the lenders on their list; or they otherwise came up in our research of preferred lender lists. Lenders are contacted with a Request for Information, which they may then choose to return to Birthingway. Their responses are evaluated using the criteria listed below.
- Years in service
- Default Rate
- Debt management programs
- Competitive interest rates
- Low/no fees
- Availability of borrower benefits
- Multiple repayment options
- Deferment/forbearance options
- Ease of loan processing for borrower
- Customer call center with sufficient hours/accessibility
- Web-based services for borrowers
- Financial literacy and/or struggling borrower support
- Ease of loan processing for school
- Marketing representative assigned to Birthingway
- Availability of school customer service support
Preferred Lender List
These are our preferred lenders. Please read the disclosures below for more details about each lender. Visit each lender’s website for more information.
Updated June 9, 2021