Graduate Alternative and Private Loans

Graduate students can choose to supplement their federal loan eligibility by borrowing from a private lender. Information about maximizing federal loan eligibility, and our formal review process for choosing the private lenders who appear on our website, can be found below. Please note that you are under no obligation to borrow from any of the lenders listed here and can select any lender you prefer and apply directly with that lender. 

You should apply for a loan no later than three weeks before your billing due date. Once the application process is complete and the loan is approved, funds will be automatically credited to your account.

Federal Loan Eligibility

We encourage all students to use your maximum maximum Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility before seeking any alternative or private loan, as there are many benefits associated with federal loan programs that are generally not available through private loans.

Private Lenders

A variety of banks and private lenders offer alternative loans for financing education costs for both graduate and undergraduate students and their families. Tufts has a formal process to review the loan offerings of most of the major lenders. Based on this review, we have chosen the lenders below for their competitive rates,  borrower benefits, and superior customer service. Be assured that Tufts receives no benefits, financial or other, from these lenders for being on our preferred lender list.

You are under no obligation to borrow from one of these lenders. If you would like to borrow from a lender who is not on this list, you can simply select the lender of your choice and apply directly with that lender. The lender will be responsible for getting your loan information to us.

You may borrow up to the cost of education minus any aid received.

Lenders offer private loan programs with different rates, fees, repayment terms, and approval requirements. We suggest that you carefully review each program to compare the terms and conditions before deciding which alternative loan may be appropriate for your needs. The lenders listed below are those most utilized at Tufts. You can complete the application process directly through the websites linked below.

When considering alternative loans, you should also a review the Federal Grad PLUS loan option.

Before borrowing, view each lender's website and review their benefits. You may compare lender interest rates, benefits, fees, and terms by visiting ELM Select. ELM Select is hosted and maintained by ELM Resources to help students and parents choose the educational lender of their choice.

Alternative Lender
Link to Application
Phone Number
Sallie Mae* Sallie Mae Student Loans 877-279-7172
MEFA MEFA Loans 800-266-0243
College Ave* College Ave Student Loans 844-422-7502
Discover Discover Student Loans 877-788-3368
Citizens Bank* Citizens Bank Student Loan 800-708-6684

*These lenders offer loans to students enrolled less than half-time.

Loan options for International Graduate Students

Alternative Lender
Link to Application
MPOWER Financing MPOWER Student Loan
Prodigy Finance Prodigy Finance Student Loan
Fair Lending Practices - Code of Conduct

Tufts University has always been committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behavior.  We recognize that ensuring the integrity of the student financial aid process is critical to providing fair and affordable access to higher education.  With the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress has required that all colleges post a Code of Conduct relating to financial aid, private lending and student choice.  Accordingly, the staff in Student Financial Services herein confirms that we adhere to the following sound practices.

I.  University employees do not receive any personal benefits from Lending Institutions   
No member of the Student Financial Services staff will accept anything of more than nominal value on his or her behalf or on behalf of another person or entity from any Lending Institution.  For example, cash, stocks, gifts, entertainment, expense-paid trips, etc. will never be accepted from a Lending Institution. Likewise, an individual will never accept payment or reimbursement from a Lending Institution for lodging, meals or travel to conferences or training seminars.

II.  The University does not provide any advantage to a Lending Institution   
The staff in Student Financial Services does not accept anything of value from any Lending Institution in exchange for any advantage or consideration provided to the Lending Institution related to its student loan activities, including but not limited to revenue-sharing, printing costs or below-cost computer hardware or software.  Likewise, the University does not allow any Lending Institution to staff the Student Financial Services office or Student Services calling center at any time.

III.  The University makes appropriate use of any Preferred Lender Lists   
The selection of Lending Institutions for inclusion on the private/alternative loans Preferred Lender List is based solely on the best interests of University students and their parents without regard to the financial interests of the University. We abide by the following:

  • Students and their parents are free to select the Lending Institution of their choice for private/alternative loans and will suffer no penalty imposed by the University from using a Lending Institution that is not a “Preferred Lender.”
  • Students and their parents are not required to use any of the University private/alternative loan “Preferred Lenders” and may borrow through any lender or guarantor they choose.
  • The University does not assign a borrower’s loan to a particular lender and will certify all loans based on a borrower’s selection of a lender.

IV.  University employees do not serve on lender advisory boards for remuneration   
No officer, trustee or employee of the University who makes financial aid decisions for the University or who is employed in, supervises or otherwise has responsibility or authority over the University Student Financial Services office will receive any remuneration for serving as a member or participant on a student loan advisory board of a Lending Institution, or receive any reimbursement of expenses for such service.