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Alternative Loans

Alternative (private) loans are administered and processed by private lending institutions to be used for educational costs after exhausting potentially more favorable federal and state financial aid options first.

Visit ELMSelect to search for an alternate loan product.
ELM Select Website

Tip: Use Federal Student Aid Options First

We highly recommend that you apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before you apply for an alternative loan. Loans from Direct Loan Program are awarded based on FAFSA information. Direct Loans may offer more benefits than alternative loans, including lower interest rates and more repayment options. More information about the Direct Loans can be found on our loans page.

Questions to ask when choosing a lender:
  • Is the interest rate variable or fixed? A variable interest rate can change, but a fixed interest rate will stay the same as long as you have the loan.
  • Is the interest capitalized? If it is, the amount of money you ultimately owe increases.
  • Is there an origination fee? Origination fees are charged by some lenders to cover their cost to process your loan. 
  • Are there fees for paying off the loan early?
  • Are there any borrower benefits? For example, some lenders may offer a discount on your interest rate if you sign up for automatic monthly payments.
  • When do you need to start repaying the loan? Some lenders require you to pay while you are in school. Others will defer payments until after graduation.
  • Is a co-signer required? Many students have no credit yet, and they need a co-signer on their loan.
  • Are there other eligibility requirements? For example, some loans require that you meet Satisfactory Academic Progress or be enrolled full time.
Application Process

Due to Federal Lending Laws, student loan lenders are required to provide multiple disclosures to the borrower and to collect a Self-Certification Form from the borrower. The lender also requests eligibility certification from us. This whole process usually takes 2-3 weeks (10-15 business days) from start to finish, so please plan ahead.

Application Steps
  • Search for a loan lender through ELMSelect Apply online through the lender's website.
  • You will receive an Application Disclosure Statement from the lender. Please read it and ask questions if you aren't sure what it means.
  • Submit the Self-Certification Form to your lender. You may obtain a completed Self-Certification Form by logging into howdy.tamu.edu. Click on the My Finances and enter the Financial Aid Portal. It will be under Resources.
  • If approved for the loan, you will be provided an Approval Disclosure Statement from your lender.
  • Your lender will contact Scholarships & Financial Aid for certification that you meet certain requirements of the loan. It can take us 2-5 business days to certify your loan.
  • After Scholarships & Financial Aid certifies your loan, you will receive a Final Disclosure Statement, and are allowed up to 3 days to cancel the loan before it disburses.
Loan Terms

Your loan application will ask you to report your loan term. The loan term can be a single semester or the academic year. Your loan application will ask you to report your loan term. The loan term can be a single semester or the academic year.  Please use these general loan term dates when filling out an application. However, your loan will be processed using specific enrollment dates for your program. Loans can be disbursed up to 10 days prior to the start of classes if the lender has released the funds to Texas A&M University.

These are the current loan terms available for 2019-2020

Scroll Table Left and Right
Term Start Date End Date
Fall 2019 8/26/2019 12/11/2019
Spring 2020 1/13/2020 5/5/2020

For more information on loan repayment, visit our Repaying Student Loans page.