Private education loans not guaranteed by federal funds are commonly called “alternative loans” and have different eligibility criteria determined by the individual lenders. We recommend that parents and students consider these programs after Stafford and PLUS loan options have been explored. Some characteristics of alternative loans include:
- No FAFSA needed for alternative loans
- Interest/repayment terms set by lender
- Other aid affects amount you may borrow
- Eligibility criteria determined by lender
- Credit check required
- Lender may require co-signer
- Maximum loan eligibility is cost of attendance minus other financial aid.
ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION LOAN OPTIONS
Our list of alternative loan lenders has been researched carefully and compiled based on interest rates, originations fees, Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, payment of prior balance options, repayment terms and options, enrollment options, as well as other factors. The information that is provided in this list will be updated for the 2012-2013 academic year and then reviewed every two years to give the best possible alternative loan options to our students. There is no obligation for students to use the lenders listed and may apply for an alternative loan with any lender they choose. The list is available as a tool for students to start their search and a way to compare different alternative loan options.
What questions do I ask when evaluating the loan programs?
- Is eligibility for the loan income-based or credit-based?
- Does having a co-signer decrease the interest rate and/or loan fees?
- What are the credit criteria for the borrower and co-signer or endorser?
- Is school certification required?
- What are the loan fees and when are they paid?
- How is the interest rate calculated? Is it fixed or variable?
- What is the current interest rate and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?
- Is there a grace period? If so, how long?
- When does repayment begin?
- Are there deferment, forbearance and cancellation provisions?
- What are the repayment options?
- Must I maintain satisfactory academic progress?
- Is there a minimum enrollment requirement?
- Must I be enrolled in a degree program?
- May I borrow for a prior balance? And how many months prior?