Alternative loans are available to students who are not eligible for financial aid or who need additional funds to meet educational expenses. Your eligibility is determined by the cost of attendance minus other financial aid/resources, and/or the annual loan maximum amount determined by your loan lender.
Because alternative loans are not guaranteed by the federal government, they must be insured privately. In most cases, this extra cost is passed to the borrower in the form of higher fees and interest rates. In addition, the lender will review your credit history, as well as other factors, to determine whether or not they will lend to you. You may be denied by one lender and approved by another because of the different ways they interpret your information.
Who Needs an Alternative Loan?
Alternative loans are not for everyone. They are expensive and should only be considered when all other resources (such as Federal Direct or Parent PLUS loans) have been exhausted.
For example, a freshman dependent student can borrow up to $5,500 under the Direct Loan Program. If this student is not eligible for grants or other aid and cannot make up the difference through working, there may not be funds available to cover registration fees, books, and housing. If no other resources are available, this student may want to consider an alternative loan.
What Should You Ask Before Deciding on an Alternative Loan?
- What is the interest rate and what is it based on?
- When do I need to begin repaying the loan?
- Can principal and interest be deferred?
- When is the interest capitalized?
- How much is the loan origination fee?
- What is the maximum amount I can borrow per year?
- What is the minimum amount I can borrow per year?
- Can I make payments on the web?
- Can I consolidate the loan with other loans?
- Can I borrow money to cover past-due balances from a previous semester?
- Are there interest rate deductions or other incentives if I make my payments on time?
What Are The Eligibility Requirements For Alternative Loans?
Requirements vary according to the lender. However, common requirements state that loan recipients must be:
- Undergraduate students in a degree or certificate program
- Enrolled at least part time
- Creditworthy borrowers or borrowers with creditworthy cosigners
- U.S. citizens, permanent residents or eligible non-citizens
- Making satisfactory academic progress
Wichita State does not endorse any specific loan lenders; however, we offer a list of lenders that students have used over the past 2 years. This list provides some comparison information for interest rates and terms, but we encourage to be diligent in your search for the best loan for you.
You may select another lender, but be advised that delays may occur as some other lenders do not process with us electronically.
Note: If you choose to borrow a private loan before using any available federal Direct loans (applied for through the FAFSA), the Office of Financial Aid will require you to complete a "Authorization for Certification of Alternative Loan Prior to Direct/PLUS Loan Certification" form.
If you need information to complete a Self-Certification form for an alternative student loan, please follow the instructions listed below:
- Log into myWSU.wichita.edu.
- Select the myFinances tab and then Financial Aid Awards.
- Select the appropriate academic year
- Award Overview
Use the information on the Financial Aid Award Overview page to complete your Self-Certification form from the loan lender. This page will display your Cost of Attendance (also known as an Estimated Financial Aid Budget), Financial Need, and Total Aid. If the loan you are currently applying for has already been added to your award, do not include it as current aid on the Self-Certification form (available through your private loan lender).
Submit the form online directly to your loan lender for processing (not to the Office of Financial Aid).