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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.
Click here to search for an alternate loan product through ELMSelect.
Exhaust Federal Student Aid Options First
Alternative loans are not part of the Federal student loan programs, and should be used for circumstances where you have exhausted all other options in regards to financing your education.
We highly recommend that you apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to seeking an alternative loan. You may be eligible for the Federal William D. Ford (Direct) loan program. Benefits of the Direct Loans over an alternative loan may include lower interest rates and greater repayment options. Additional information about the Direct Loans can be found at financialaid.tamu.edu/Professional/Types-of-Aid#0-Loans
As a result of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) of 2009, lenders are required to provide multiple disclosures to the borrower and to collect a Self-Certification Form from the borrower.
Please keep in mind that due to these new requirements, your alternative loan disbursement may be delayed as required by this new law.
Below is an example of what to expect if you apply for an alternative loan:
- Search for an alternative loan lender through ELMSelect.
- Apply online through the lender's website. You will receive an Application Disclosure Statement from the lender.
- 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.
- After Scholarships & Financial Aid certifies your eligibility with your lender, you will receive a Final Disclosure Statement, and are allowed up to 3 days to cancel the loan before it disburses.
- Disbursement of alternative loan funds typically takes place ten business days after Scholarships & Financial Aid certifies the loan.
Points to consider when choosing a lender
- Interest Rate – It may be capitalized: therefore, increasing the amount of money you ultimately owe. Consider using a cosigner. You may qualify for slightly lower rates.
- Fees – The interest rates and fees that you pay are based on your credit score and the credit score of your cosigner if you choose to use one.
- Borrower Benefits – These vary by lender.
- Repayment Terms – Some lenders require you to pay while you are in school. Others will defer payments until after graduation.
- Eligibility Requirements - Check the requirements for the loan.
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, provided the lender has released the funds to Texas A&M University.