You are entitled to borrow up to the standard Cost of Attendance at your school. The COA includes what the school charges you (tuition and fees), but also other expenses that students often have to pay for, such as books, transportation, and off-campus living expenses. So, yes, as long as your credit is good enough to get a loan approved, you can take a private student loan to help with your rent. However, the COA is based on averages, and that average may not reflect your actual costs. Also, you need to be prepared to pay your own costs for at least two months at the beginning of the semester, since many schools don't disburse until several weeks into the semester, and then they have two weeks to issue a refund. So, you may need to cover your rent in some other way for September and October. The same may be true when the spring semester starts. Also, the COA can only be based on costs for the time when you are in school, so it doesn't include months when you aren't attending classes, such as during the summer.