Page last updated on September 26, 2016
Alternative loans, also commonly referred to as private loans, are commercial loans offered by banks and other private lenders as an option to help cover the difference between the cost of education and the financial aid received. Private or alternative loans are not federally guaranteed and should only be considered after your eligibility for all other types of aid, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans and Federal Direct PLUS loans, has been exhausted. The repayment terms of federal loan programs may be more favorable than the terms of private loans. Alternative student loans may not be included in Federal Direct Consolidation Loans and are not eligible for the Federal Income-Based Repayment Plan or for Federal Economic Hardship deferments.
Please note: the Financial Aid Office will not certify your private loan application if you have been packaged with a federal loan and have not fully exhausted these borrowing options first.
Student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be enrolled at least half-time. A co-borrower is required for a student who has not yet established credit or who has a low credit score. International students may borrow an alternative loan with a creditworthy co-borrower who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for this loan program.
Interest Rate and Other Fees
Interest rates, origination and repayment fees for these loans vary and are set by the lender. Most private lenders require a co-borrower and interest rates are based on the creditworthiness of the borrower and/or co-borrower. Current interest rates vary from 0% to 14% and vary on a monthly or quarterly basis and may not have a maximum rate.
The Federal Direct Loans have a fixed interest which is not dependent on credit-worthiness of 3.76% for subsidized loans and unsubsidized loans and a loan origination fee of 1.069%. Every student who applies for a Federal Direct Loan is eligible to receive one, assuming the student is enrolled at least half-time and meets the criteria for federal aid. Students are expected to have exhausted all of their federal loan options, such as the Federal Direct Loan, before applying for a private loan.
Selecting a Lender
Choosing a lender is an important decision, one that will affect you for the life of your loan. Rules for repayment and deferment vary from lender to lender although repayment generally begins after full disbursement. Some lenders may postpone (defer) repayment during periods of at least half-time enrollment and economic hardship; however, interest will continue to accrue on the loan from the date it is disbursed. We encourage you to compare loan programs carefully before selecting a lender and to borrow as little as possible. We provide the following website to you to assist you in choosing a lender: https://choice.fastproducts.org/FastChoice/home/117200
We believe the information presented on this site is unbiased, thorough and clearly presented but you may choose any participating program or lender you wish.
Please note that neither Pitzer College nor any of its employees have received benefits of any kind or any other compensation from FASTChoice (Great Lakes Education Loan Services, Inc.) in exchange for providing this listing or from any of the lenders on the website. Pitzer College’s Financial Aid Code of Conduct and Policy on Educational Loans may be found here.
Steps to applying for a Private Loan
- Contact the Financial Aid Office to confirm that you have exhausted all federal loan options. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (909) 621-8208.
- You need to choose a lender and apply online. We provide the following website to assist you in choosing a lender: https://choice.fastproducts.org/FastChoice/home/117200
- As part of new federal regulations, private educational loan borrowers are required to complete, sign and return to their lender a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form before loan funds can be disbursed. Your lender may send you this form to complete.