First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union
Private Student Loan

Rates as low as Prime + 1.00%

First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union Private Student Loan

Federal loans not enough to cover the cost of your college education? The private student loan available through First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union can be the answer to your funding needs.

Main Program Features

  • Borrow as little as $2,000 or as much as $15,000 per year. *
    • Lifetime maximum of $75,000.
  • Choose between making interest payments or a nominal $25 "Proactive Payment" towards the loan while in school
  • Use our private student loan to pay for qualified education expenses such as tuition, books, room/board, computers and even past due tuition bills!
  • Quick approval once we receive your completed application

Student Benefits

  • Competitive Interest Rates
  • 30 Day No-Fee Return Policy allows you to cancel the loan if you find a better option

Eligibility & Credit Requirements

  • Borrower must be enrolled in an approved school and pursuing a degree program on at-least a halftime basis
  • Borrower must be a member or join First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union during the online application process
  • Borrower and cosigner may be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Students are encouraged to apply with a creditworthy cosigner for a better chance of approval and/or lower interest rate

Applying with a cosigner is highly recommended to qualify for lower rates!

* Program Limits. Certain requirements apply.
*** A qualified student is one who is enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree seeking program at least half-time at an eligible school and who has met the underwriting criteria for loan approval.

General Questions

What is a First Commonwealth FCU Private Student Loan?

The First Commonwealth FCU Loan is a private student loan that can be used to pay for qualified educational expenses including tuition, room and board, books, and other school related expenses.


What is a private student loan?

Also known as an “alternative student loan,” a private student loan is made by a private financial institution and used to cover costs of higher education including tuition, room and board, and other expenses. Private student loans serve as a way for students to fill the funding gap between the cost of attending school and the amount of federal loans, grants and available scholarships.


What is the difference between a private student loan and a federal student loan?

Federal student loans follow guidelines set forth by the U.S. Dept of Education and typically offer lower interest rates compared to private student loans. However, Federal loans, unlike private loans, have borrowing limits, which may not allow a student to borrow enough to cover the entire cost of education. Private loans help students fill the funding gap between the cost of attending school and the amount of federal loans, grants and available scholarships. Both private and federal student loans allow students to defer full payments while in school and some offer economic forbearance options once a student completes school. Unlike federal loan programs, private lenders assess the credit history of the borrower and cosigner before making a loan.


How do I know if I’m eligible for financial aid?

Eligibility for federal, state and university funded financial aid is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students are strongly encouraged to apply for federal aid by completing the FAFSA, which can be obtained online at


How much financial aid am I eligible to receive?

The financial information you provide in the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) is used by the government to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount you and your family are expected to pay towards your education. The EFC is then subtracted from the cost of attendance for your respective school to determine the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.


What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The EFC is a calculated assessment of how much your family is expected to contribute to your college costs. The EFC takes into consideration your family’s financial strength – income and assets. Other factors considered include the number of family members and number of family members in college.


Loan Eligibility

Who is eligible for a loan?

To apply for a Private Student loan you must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an Eligible school.


How do I know if my school is eligible for a loan?

You can confirm whether or not your school is an approved school during the loan application process or you can check our approved school list.


Does applying for a federal loan impact my ability to obtain a loan?

No. We encourage all students to explore and exhaust all Federal aid options first, and then use private loans to help pay your remaining education expenses.


What is a cosigner?

A cosigner is a parent, grandparent, guardian or other adult who is creditworthy and willing to assume legal responsibility for the loan liabilities along with you. The cosigner must be a U.S. citizen.


Is a cosigner required to obtain a loan?

All borrowers are encouraged to get a cosigner. A creditworthy cosigner increases the likelihood of your loan approval and may lead to a lower loan rate and fewer fees. Depending on your credit history, a cosigner may be required to be eligible for a loan.


Will the cosigner’s credit record be affected?

Yes, in a cosigned loan application both the borrower and the cosigner are applying for the loan and are jointly liable for making all loan payments. The loan will show up on both the borrower and cosigner’s credit report.


Is the cosigner responsible for repaying the loan?

If the borrower fails to repay the loan, then the cosigner is responsible for repaying the loan.


Application Process

When should I begin the process?

We encourage you to start early. Once you know what school you will be attending and are able to provide proof of enrollment, such as a letter of acceptance or a tuition bill, start the loan application process.


How much can I borrow?

The minimum you can borrow is $2,000 per year. The maximum you can borrow is the certified amount determined by your school, up to $15,000 per year. The school certified amount is typically the Cost of Attendance (COA) less any other financial aid received.


How do I apply for a loan?

The application process must be completed online at


Do I need to be enrolled in an educational institution to complete the application process?

Yes, you must provide proof of enrollment at the school you are attending to complete the application process.


What proof of enrollment do I need to provide?

Acceptable proof of enrollment includes one or more of the following in an acceptable format: letter of acceptance, a tuition bill, a print-out of a class schedule.


Why do I need to provide my credit union account information?

All loan payments are required to be made electronically using the credit union account information on file.


Will this loan be certified?

Yes, all loans are certified with the school.


How does my cosigner signup?

Your cosigner signs up online at this site. They simply set up an account, provide your contact information, and designate that they are cosigning your loan. They need to provide a valid credit union or bank account number, and complete the same origination, verification, and underwriting procedures as you since they will be jointly liable for repayment of the loan, should you fail to make the required payments.


Will both the borrower and cosigner’s credit be checked?

Yes. During the application process and as part of the underwriting process we pull a credit bureau report on both the borrower and cosigner. The borrower’s creditworthiness or ability to repay the loan is assessed based the credit bureau of the borrower, the credit bureau of the cosigner, as well as the borrower’s academic attributes.


What is a ACS Grade?

ACS (Academic Credit Score) Grade is a designation assigned to each loan request to assess borrower creditworthiness. The ACS Grade is derived from the ACS, which is calculated using a proprietary credit scoring model. ACS Grades are unique because, unlike many other scores, the ACS takes into account not only the credit bureau data, but also the student’s academic characteristics such as GPA, course of study, school, class standing, and year of study.


How do I check the status of my application?

The status of your application is available online, click here to log in.


After filling out an application, is there a commitment to borrow?

No. A borrower may withdraw a request at any time and has up to 30 days from the check disbursement date to return the money and avoid being charged any cancellation fees or interest. Borrowers must inform us prior to 30 days so we can add a note to the account.


Loan Terms

What loan maturities are offered?

All loans have a repayment term of 10 years. The repayment term begins 6 months after the borrower graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program.


How soon will a borrower receive the loan proceeds?

The loan proceeds will be sent to the school by check or through electronic funds transfer (EFT). The check will be mailed within 6-10 business days of our approving your application.


How is the interest rate calculated?

All loans are variable rate loans. Therefore, the interest rate fluctuates over time, resetting quarterly. The interest rate is the sum of two components:

Annual Interest Rate = Base Rate + Loan Margin

The Prime Rate for the Education Loan is equal to the average of the Prime rates as published in Wall Street Journal for the three (3) months immediately preceding each quarterly adjustment date. Interest rates will adjust quarterly on the first day of January, April, July, and October.

The Loan Margin is determined at loan inception, depending on the borrower’s ACS Grade.


How often is accrued interest capitalized?

Unpaid interest accrues while the borrower is in school. Upon entering repayment, all accrued and unpaid interest is capitalized (or added) to the principal balance once at the time repayment begins. All unpaid interest also accrues during periods of Deferment and is capitalized once at the time a loan reenters repayment.


What documentation is provided to borrowers?

Borrowers receive electronic monthly statements summarizing all account activities.


What are the Forbearance policies?

Borrowers may request Forbearance, due to economic hardship, for up to 18 months over the life of the loan. Borrowers are eligible to receive three Forbearance periods up to 6 months each. However, only one Forbearance period may be requested in a calendar year. Interest continues to accrue during Forbearance and the borrower still needs to make a monthly $25 Proactive Payment.



What repayment options are available?

While in enrolled at least half-time, a borrower may choose one of the following repayment options:

  • Interest Only Payments: the borrower is immediately responsible for making full monthly interest payments on the loan while enrolled in school. Six months after separating from the school or ceasing to be enrolled at least-half time in a degree granting program, the borrower enters repayment status and is responsible for making full interest and principal payments.
  • Proactive Payments:while enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program, the borrower is only required to make monthly $25 Proactive Payments during the in-school period. Any unpaid accrued interest is capitalized (or added) to the outstanding loan amount once at the end of the in-school. Six months after separating from the school or ceasing to be enrolled at least-half time in a degree granting program, the borrower enters repayment status and is responsible for making full interest and principal payments.

What is a Proactive Payment Period?

Proactive payment period lasts while the borrower is enrolled in school at least half-time and includes a 6-month Grace Period once the borrower leaves school. During this time, the borrower is only required to make a $25 Proactive Payment. Any unpaid interest continues to accrue during this period.


What is a Grace Period?

The Grace Period is a 6-month period of time that begins once a borrower graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time in a degree granting program. After the Grace Period, the borrower must begin making regular principal and interest payments. Borrowers are required to make Good Faith or Interest Only Payments during the Grace Period.


What is a Proactive Payment?

A Proactive Payment is a $25 monthly payment the borrower must begin making at loan inception and while the loan is in Deferment status and Forbearance status. The Good Faith Payment helps the borrower demonstrate financial discipline and saves the borrower interest expense over the life of the loan.


Once loan payments are due, who do I pay?

All monthly loan payments are made via automatic electronic funds transfers to the servicer, LendKey Technologies Inc., using the credit union account designated during the application process. Please keep the account on file current. Should the borrower’s account balance be insufficient to make the payment, the servicer shall collect the payment from the cosigner’s account on file via automatic electronic funds transfer.


When do borrowers enter full repayment status?

Borrowers are given a six month Grace Period once they graduate or separate from school before they enter repayment status. Once a borrower enters repayment status they are responsible for making full principal and interest payments.

Some students may not yet have found employment six months after leaving school; therefore, borrowers may request to pay just the interest expense on the loan for the first two years while in repayment status, this is referred to as the "Initial Interest Only" option.


Can a borrower prepay the loan at any time?

Yes, a borrower may prepay the loan either partially or in full at anytime without incurring any fees or penalties.


Privacy & Security

Will my personal information be shared with third parties?

Please consult our privacy policy for details.


How is financial information protected?

Our servers are equipped with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate technology, which encrypts the user's entire online session. Automatic sign out occurs after a period of inactivity. All banking information and social security numbers are stored in a secure off-site data center. All users must pass through our secure verification systems to prevent identity theft.


How does identity verification work?

All borrowers must have a valid driver’s license or social security number. This information is used to obtain non-credit based questions from an identity verification agency. The user is asked a series of questions that must be answered correctly. Since these questions are not based on a person’s credit history, obtaining another person’s credit report does not provide sufficient information to pass our identity verification test. Those who violate our security and privacy protections are subject to disciplinary action, including prosecution to the fullest extent allowable by law.