First, is this the best loan for me?
Federal loans, including Direct loans, Perkins loans, and PLUS loans, are generally the best options and should be your first consideration. The maximum interest rates and fees on these loans are set by federal law, so the terms and conditions for these loans are clearly defined and will not change over time.
Private loans, also known as alternative loans, offer another type of loan. Sometimes students choose to borrow private loans because they believe it’s a simpler option. You don’t have to fill out a FAFSA in order to borrow, the funds are sometimes sent directly to you, and our office may not even have to certify the loan. But you will pay a price for that convenience in the form of very high interest rates and high loan fees. Often, students commit to these loans without even knowing the interest rates or repayment terms. Before you apply for a loan that you don’t fully understand, contact our staff to see if there might be better options for you.
Alternative loans are considered a “last resort” for students who have exhausted all other financial aid avenues. Alternative loans cannot exceed the cost of attendance for a student. If you have exhausted all other financial aid opportunities to you, then an alternative loan can be borrowed for the remainder of your cost of attendance. If you are interested in taking out an alternative loan, please contact your Financial Aid Counselor to verify that you have exhausted all other financial aid possibilities.
Students will need to apply directly with the lender of their choice. Most students will be required to have someone cosign the loan application. Interest rates for loans are determined by the lender based on the student and cosigners credit worthiness. If you have any questions about an alternative loan, you may contact the lender directly or contact your Financial Aid Counselor.
All private loan borrowers are required to submit a self-certification form to their lender prior to the school receiving a request to certify the loan. This is a NEW federal requirement under Regulation Z-§226.48 (f). For additional information visit e-CFR(The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations).
For a list of private lenders and a comparison of the loan terms offered, please visit FinAid.org:http://www.finaid.org/loans/privatestudentloans.phtml