Alternative/Private Student Loans

Alternative Loans

Alternative, or private, loans are offered by several banks and lending agencies. These loans are not part of the federal government’s guaranteed student loan programs and are not subsidized by the federal government. Alternative loans are available to credit-worthy borrowers or borrowers with a credit-worthy cosigner. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chances of approval or result in a lower interest rate. While we encourage students to explore their options, unless you or your cosigner have excellent credit, alternative educational loans generally have higher interest rates. For most students we recommend that you exhaust your Federal educational loan eligibility before considering alternative loans.

Eligibility for enrolled students is determined by calculating the difference between the student's Cost of Attendance and their current funding from other aid sources.

Interest rates and fees may vary depending on your credit rating and are determined by the lending institution.

Utilize ELM Select to explore private loan options

Lenders are recommended based upon their historical lending with our students or are based upon the quality of products and services they provide to students and families. We have carefully considered our selections in order to provide you with the best possible list of suggested lenders. However, if you wish to use another lender that is not on this list, you have the right to do so.

Important considerations when shopping for an alternative educational loan.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The APR is the annual cost of your loan; it includes interest and the effect of any fees and charges. APRs will differ depending on the terms and amounts of your loan. If the rate is variable, the APR may change during the life of the loan. Carefully consider the terms and APRs when your borrow an alternative loan.

Fees: Does the lender charge any type of fees? Some lenders charge no fees at all, while some charge fees at the time they disburse, at repayment, or both.

Co-signer Release: Does the loan require you to have a co-signer? Does the lender offer a co-signer release option after you make a required number of on time payments?

Interest Capitalization: What happens if you choose not to pay interest while you are in school? When is the interest added? If the interest is capitalized monthly, quarterly, or annually, the loan is more expensive than if the loan is capitalized once at repayment.

Servicers: Does the lender sell their loans or contract with a servicer? Some lenders service their own loans; others may sell loans or contract with a service agency. If your loan is sold or serviced to another agency, all future correspondence and payments must go to the new agency.

Benefits: Does the lender offer incentive rewards for on-time payments or prior banking history with the institution?

Lenders use credit scores to make credit decisions to determine which applicants are likely to repay their loans on time. Credit scoring is calculated using many pieces of your past bill history. The way a person managed credit in the past is often a good indication of how they will manage credit in the future. Therefore, your credit score is like a snapshot of your level of credit risk at a particular time. So, give yourself the credit you deserve. Pay your bills on time and avoid applying for too many credit accounts. It is a good practice to periodically monitor your own credit report. Your may obtain a copy of your credit report by contacting any or all of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax 800-685-1111, Experian 888-397-3742, or TransUnion 800-888-4213.

Once you have been approved by a lender to borrow through their loan program, the lender will contact the Financial Aid office for certification of the loan. The amount a student receives cannot exceed the cost of attendance minus other aid.

Private Educational Loan Self-Certification Form PDF

General information about how to get a loan.