From a personal experience, only take out private loans if it is ABSOLUTELY mandatory. I am currently in repayment for my private loan and would like to share a few things about private loans before you get one.
First off, they are more likely to have variable interest rates. This is bad. My interest rate started around 6% and is currently a little above 8%. All throughout undergrad, I paid interest and saw these payments increase with the increased rate. This is awful for a college student applying to medical school with a set amount of money, because I did not receive work-study to make extra cash.
On the other hand, my federal student loans have remained at their original interest rate which is a little more than 6%. I am not making payments, because as long as I am in college they will be deferred.
Another thing to note about private loans, is they do not have the same deferment options as the federal loans. Of course as a 17/18 year old, I clicked agree on everything to get the loan instead of reading the details. I learned, that my private loan lender has an 18month forbearance policy. Well, I am in a Master’s program that lasts for 2 years. It’s February and I have used all of my forbearance, because I was not making enough money to pay for full payments. I asked for it to be extended and all they can do is reduce the amount to be paid for three months. I am looking for a job to pay for these bills, and last semester was packed with medical school courses and interviews for medical school (This may sound confusing to take medical school courses while applying to medical school so the story is here).
Either way, a variable interest rate that will most likely increase over time and no flexibility in forbearance are two disadvantages that would have made me say no if only I knew. I just want you all to understand a couple of crucial differences between federal and private student loans. As usual, if you have any questions leave them below and I will get back with you ASAP.