Private student loans are meant to fill the gap in financial aid that is left between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Federal loans/aid you've received. Private loans are not offered through the federal government, so it's important to look for a loan program from an institution you trust, like a credit union's Student Choice solution. These loans are in the name of the student but often require a co-signer. They are not guaranteed or subsidized by the government. Instead, they are based on the credit score of the student and/or the credit score of any co-signer they have on the loan.
Look for a loan with zero origination or prepayment fees, low interest rates, flexible deferment and repayment options, and an easy application process. You'll also want to make sure that the loan is certified through the school - which means the school verifies the amount you need to borrow to prevent you from borrowing too much or too little. Funds should be given directly to the school and any difference back to the borrower for books, transportation, technology and other necessities.
Federal PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students)
Parents of dependent students may apply for a Federal PLUS Loan to help pay their child's education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. These loans are in the parent's name, cannot be transferred to the student, and include origination and other fees. Graduate and professional students may apply for PLUS Loans for their own expenses.