Alternative Loans

Alternative loans are designed to fill the gap between the cost of attendance and the student's financial aid award.

Students who need loans to pay their educational expenses are encouraged to accept their federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans before turning to alternative loan resources. The federal loans have advantages that private loans do not have once the student enters repayment, including forbearance options, flexible repayment plans and in some cases loan forgiveness options.

There are two types of alternative loans: the *Federal Parent PLUS Loan for parents of dependent students; and private lender student loans.

All alternative loan options require credit-worthiness.  Unless a student has been employed full time for at least two years and has established a good credit history, it is unlikely that he or she will be approved for an alternative loan without a credit-worthy cosigner. Each lender will approve loans at several different levels of credit-worthiness and offer interest rates (and fees if applicable) proportionate to the borrower and/or co-signers credit worthiness.

When interest rate ranges appear on the alternative loan comparison chart, the fixed rate or the initial variable rate will be determined by the lender after a credit history is reviewed for the applicant and cosigner. If the loan is approved, the applicant and cosigner will be informed of that approved rate and any fees that will be charged on the loan. Fixed interest rates remain the same for the entire loan period. Variable interest rates are subject to change periodically throughout the life of the loan.  Variable rates are not limited to the high end of the range listed on the comparison chart. The interest rate on a variable loan with no cap may increase 4-12 times each year until the loan is paid off. 

To aid families in selecting an alternative loan lender, we have selected three lenders that demonstrate outstanding customer service and offer loan products representative of the best interest rates, repayment terms and conditions in the private student loan industry.  We are pleased to note that each of the lenders on our preferred lender list now offer fixed interest rates. Each of these lenders also provides protection to cosigners in the event of student death or disability at no additional charge. This benefit is not a standard in the student loan industry and is representative of the higher level of customer service provided by our preferred lenders. Although we encourage you to select one of the lenders from our preferred lender list, we will process loans from any lender that you choose.

The deadline for alternative loans is the Friday before examination week each semester. Loan certification requests received after the loan deadline will be processed for the minimum loan amount of $1000 or the amount of any charges due to the University only. Students requesting to borrow more than the balance owed to the University will be required to complete loan debt counseling with a financial aid counselor. Loans will not be processed to generate refunds after the alternative loan deadline.

* Please note that the Federal Parent PLUS Loan is a form of federal financial aid and is not an option for parents of students that have lost federal aid eligibility due to failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress.

While comparing private student loans it is suggested that you look at the following:

  • Interest rates
    • Does the lender offer fixed or variable rates?
    • Are there caps on the variable rates?
  • Fees
    • Does the lender charge origination or loan processing fees?
  • Repayment options
    • When will I begin to repay this loan?
  • Is there a cosigner release option?
  • Is there protection in the event of student death or permanent disability?


NEW FOR FALL 2013 IF YOU ENROLL less than FULL time (less than 12 credit hours for undergraduate students, less than 9 credit hours for graduate students), your cost of attendance will be adjusted based on your actual enrollment after the 4th day of class. This adjustment may reduce the amount of aid that you are eligible to receive and may change your account balance due or the amount of refund. For more information on what this could mean for you, visit the Cost of Attendance page on the Financial Aid website.

Additional Alternative Loan Resources