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 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 and forbearance options before choosing an alternative loan lender. Some lenders may require a co-signer.
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 is it streamlines the overall process, including eliminating mailing certification forms and waiting for signatures. 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 evaluate your eligibility for federal aid. If there is a reason you are unable or decline 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) The FASTChoice website will allow you to research an alternative loan option that best fits your needs.
4) Review the list of lenders, and compete an analysis and comparisons to determine which lender would best meet your needs. By clicking on the lender's site or calling the lender you may learn additional information about grace periods, repayment policies, co-signer responsibilities and other information.
5) Once you have selected a lender, you will be able to link directly to their online alternative loan application.
a) If you do not specify a loan period, the processing time will be delayed.
b) When providing the lender with anticipated dates of disbursement, use the following dates if you are an undergraduate or graduate student:
Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Terms: 08/17/20 - 04/29/21
Fall 2020 Term: 08/17/20 - 12/09/20
Spring 2021 Term: 01/11/21 - 04/29/21
Summer 2021 Term: 05/10/21 - 08/10/21
6) 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 (adobe pdf) 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.
7) In section 2 of the form you will be asked:
a) “Student cost of attendance for the period of enrollment covered by the loan.”
i) 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.
ii) For undergraduate and graduate students who filed a FAFSA and have been awarded aid at UofL, log into ULink and under the "Financial Aid" tile you will see an option for your "College Financing Plan." Your cost of attendance is outlined within this document.
b) “Estimated financial assistance.”
i) Log into ULink and under the "Financial Aid" tile you will see an option to "View My Financial Aid." Your federal, state, and institutional aid awarded is viewable on this page.
iI) For undergraduate and graduate students who filed a FAFSA and have been awarded aid at UofL, log into ULink and under the "Financial Aid" tile you will see an option for your "College Financing Plan" Your federal, state, and institutional aid awarded is viewable on this page.
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.Once UofL returns the certification, your lender will review the application and your eligibility before releasing the funds to UofL. By law, a lender must provide the student with a minimum 3 day right-to-cancel after the final loan disclosure form is sent to the student.
9) The lender will disburse funds to our office electronically or by mail. You should receive a disclosure statement from your lender once funds have been sent to the university. Once the Student Financial Aid Office has processed the funds, you will be notified by email that the alternative loan funds have been received and posted to your account in the Bursar's Office.