Alternative Loan

Alternative Loan

An alternative student loan (also referred to as a private student loan) is not a federal student loan, but one through a private bank or other lending institution.

In some cases, alternative loans have interest rates, repayment terms, and deferment options that are less favorable than those of the Direct Stafford, Perkins, Parent PLUS and Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan programs. Below is a link to Great Lakes FASTChoice, a third party company that services loans for lending agencies and schools.

We strongly encourage you to review each of the lender’s information to determine which benefits and terms are best for you. Take into consideration repayment terms, interest rates, and deferment options before choosing an alternative loan. Some lenders may require a co-signer for credit reasons.

You are free to select any lender, including those not presented in FASTChoice. We maintain a professional relationship with all lenders. Our office is prohibited from accepting financial or other benefits in exchange for displaying lender and loan options in FASTChoice. The advantages of using FASTChoice are it eliminates mailing certification forms, waiting for signatures, and streamlines the overall process. If you choose a lender not available on FASTChoice, the lender must send a paper certification to our office.

Questions regarding a particular lender's alternative loan program should be directed to that lender.

Step By Step Alternative Loan Instructions

  1. Complete a FAFSA so we can determine your eligibility for federal aid. If there is a reason you are unable to complete the FAFSA, please contact our office.

  2. Consult one of our Financial Aid Advisors to determine if you have exhausted your federal financial aid eligibility.

  3. If you have exhausted your eligibility or need additional funding, you can request an alternative loan at FASTChoice.

  4. From the FASTChoice Login page you will need to:

    • Login or create an account if you are a first time user.
    • Provide required demographic information.
    • Review Consumer Information to help you understand how to carefully make a choice regarding your alternative loan.
    • Provide an anticipated date of disbursement.
      • Summer Semester - May, June or July
      • Fall Semester - Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, or Dec
      • Spring Semester - Jan, Feb, March, or April

  5. You will then be able to review a list of lenders, as well as compare interest rates.

  6. Once you have selected a lender, you will be able to link directly to their online alternative loan application.

  7. Federal regulations now require the completion of a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form for all private education loans. All students who borrow an alternative loan MUST complete a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form and submit this form to his/her lender. This form is intended to serve two purposes: (1) informing the borrower about other options for financing his/her education; and (2) providing information to the lender about the student's educational expenses and other aid. The private loan application and disbursement process will not be completed until the signed Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form has been received by the lender. If the student does not complete, sign, and submit the form within 120 days of his/her submitting the credit application to the lender, the loan will be canceled by the lender.

    In section 3 of the form you will be asked:

    • “Student cost of attendance for the period of enrollment covered by the loan.”
      • Below is a chart that will help you determine your cost of attendance for an academic year.

        Academic Career
        Resident Student
        Non-Resident Student

        Cost of attendance for a single semester or for summer is pro-rated according to the length and/or amount of enrollment.  Please visit our consumer information website for more information regarding cost of attendance. Dental and Medical students should check with their respective departments for information regarding cost of attendance.
    • “Estimated financial assistance.”
      • You can use your ULink “View My Financial Aid” to determine the total federal, state and institutional aid received.
  8. Our office will receive electronic notification of your application and will complete certification. We may need to contact you if additional information is needed.

  9. The lender will then mail each disbursement to our office in the form of a check. You should receive a disclosure statement from your lender once your check is available at the Bursar's Office. You may need to go to the Bursar's Office to endorse your check if you still have an outstanding bill with the University.