Question 2: You should be very, very hesitant to take out a private loan. Obviously the interest rate is lower, but government loans have far more protections for you as a student. You're protected from being responsible for making payments as a student. The penalties for deferment or forbearance after graduation are small to non-existent as long as you are aware of your changing financial situation and alert your lender in advance. You also have a 6 month grace period after you graduate before you'll be required to make payments, giving you ample time to take the certifying Exam and decide on your job. I don't think BofA would even allow you to postpone payments until you have completed your program, let alone give you time to find employment. I've never looked into taking on private loans for education, but I strongly advise you to comb through every inch of your potential loan from BofA because missing payments on a private loan can royally screw your future. Be absolutely certain what you might be signing up for.