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