Alternative Education Loans
Due to the current economic financial crisis, many lenders are no longer offering private alternative loan programs. And those who are, have tightened their credit criteria. Some families will find that even though they were approved previously, they may not be approved now or may be offered a loan with a higher interest rate and less benefits.
Alternative loans are designed to help "fill the gap" when the amount of financial aid offered is less than the students total cost of attendance.
We recommend that you first exhaust your eligibility under the federal loan programs before applying for a private student loan.
What are the differences between federal and private loans?
Federal Student Loans
Federal Parent Loan
|Repayment begins 6 months after enrollment ends.||Repayment begins 60 days after disbursement.|
|Interest accrues only on Unsubsidized loans while enrolled.||Interest accrues while enrolled.||Interest accrues while enrolled.|
*Often a co-borrower is required by the lender in order for the student to be approved as most students do not have enough income and credit history.
As you can see from the chart above, these loans are borrowed in the students name and based on credit worthiness. Even if you are approved without a co-signor, you may find adding one will give you a lower interest rate and/or fees. They also have a variable interest rate while the federal loan programs have a fixed rate for the life of the loan. However, some lenders are starting to offer fixed rate private loans as an options (see lenders for details on availability).
The Financial Aid Staff in the Student Service Center has created an Alternative Loan Comparison Guide to help assist you in choosing a lender. This guide was developed based on a survey of the lenders doing business in our region. You are not required to use any of the lenders listed in the guide.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
- Apply for the loan directly with the lender through their web site or request a paper application.
- The lender will check your credit worthiness and determine if you are eligible or need to obtain a co-signer.
- Submit any required documents to the lender.
- After approval and all documents are on file, the lender will notify SUNY Canton that the loan is ready to be certified.
- The Student Service Center will confirm your enrollment and certify the loan for an amount that fits into your financial aid budget (after you have completed the application and all paperwork for your federal student aid). Contact us if you are unsure of the amount we will certify you for.
- The lender will send payment directly to SUNY Canton on your behalf at the beginning of each semester.
We hope you will carefully review the information and choose a lender that best suits your needs. Our guide does not list all available lenders. If you choose a lender not listed in the guide, be sure to ask questions and use the criteria listed in the guide to help you evaluate that loan program. It takes most students at least 10 years to repay a loan after graduation, be sure to invest the time now in deciding which loan is best for you. If you have any questions regarding private alternative loans, please feel free to contact the Student Service Center at any time.
Please feel free to read our Code of Conduct - SUNY Student Loan Practices.