Alternative Education Loans

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.

We have a list of known lenders available on ELM SELECT.

The site is very interactive & up-to-date with details on the various lenders.  You are NOT required to use any of the lenders listed in this guide.  You may first want to check with your own credit union or bank for options as they often give current customers a discount.

What are the differences between federal and private loans?

Federal Student Loans Federal Parent Loan Private Loan

Borrowed by Student

Borrowed by Parent

Borrowed by Student* or Parent

No Credit Check

Credit Check

Credit Check on borrower and co-borrower

Repayment begins 6 months after enrollment ends.

Repayment begins 60 days after disbursement. Can request deferment until after enrollment ends.

Repayment begins six months after enrollment ends. Can request deferment until after enrollment ends.

Interest accrues on all Unsubsidized Loans.

Interest accrues while enrolled.

Interest accrues while enrolled.

Fixed Interest Rate

5.50% for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for the 2023-24.

Fixed Interest Rate

8.05% for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Variable Interest Rate
Fixed Interest Rate

*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, loans are borrowed in the students' name and based on credit worthiness. Even if you are approved without a co-borrower, you may find adding one will give you a lower interest rate and/or fees. Some lenders have begun allowing the loan to be in a name other than the students' and pay to the students' account. While it may be referred to as a Private Loan for Parents, the borrower doesn't have to be a parent or even related to the student.


  1. Apply for the loan directly with the lender on their website or request a paper application. Some may let you begin the application process by phone.
  2. The lender will check your credit worthiness and determine if you are eligible or need to obtain a co-borrower.
  3. Submit any required documents to the lender.
  4. After approval and all documents are on file with required signatures, the lender will notify SUNY Canton that the loan is ready to be certified.
  5. The staff in the One Hop Shop will confirm your enrollment and certify the loan for an amount that fits into your educational cost of attendance (after you have completed the application and all paperwork for your federal student aid).  Contact us if you are unsure of the maximum amount we will certify you for.
  6. 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. If you choose a lender not listed in the guide, be sure to ask questions and use the criteria listed 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 One Hop Shop at any time.

Please feel free to read our Code of Conduct - SUNY Student Loan Practices.

One-Hop Shop
Miller Campus Center - 1st Floor
34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY 13617

Tel: (315) 386-7616
Fax: (315) 386-7930

Regular Office Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
8:00 am-4:30 pm
9:00-4:30 pm

Summer/Vacation Office Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
8:00 am-4:00 pm
9:00-4:00 pm