Alternative Loan Options
About Alternative Loans
Alternative education loans are credit-based consumer loans that can be used to pay any post-secondary education-related expenses, they are generally issued by a bank or other lending institutions. Before considering alternative loan borrowing, you should first apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid, including federal student loans. And use alternative loans only as a last resort to pay for college costs. File a FAFSA first. Go to studentaid.gov for more information.
Financial Aid Services strongly recommends that you fully research the alternative loan program and lender that best suits your financing needs. Please compare the benefits and costs of several alternative loan programs before you apply. To get the best interest rate and terms apply with a credit-worthy cosigner. To find out how to apply for an alternative loan visit the lender's website.
Alternative Loan List
For your convenience, below are links to alternative educational loans list. We have provided telephone numbers and links to websites maintained by these lenders. UMass Amherst is not responsible for the availability, content, or accuracy of materials on third party websites. Please carefully read final loan agreements, disclosures or promissory notes and understand their repayment terms and other obligations.
Lender Selection Criteria
The lenders included on each list responded to a publicly solicited Request for Information (RFI) for private/alternative student loans. This request document, UMass-2023-0391, can be found on the UMass President’s Website. The university reviewed information regarding each lending institution’s background, loan program requirements, and customer service and program affiliations. The interest rate, fees, or loan cost offered by these lenders may not be the lowest available. In addition, a lender may change the rates, terms, fees, and other information from that which was presented in their original responses. The university will review the status of each lender at least annually and may add or drop lenders from this list. This is not a comprehensive list of all the educational loans available. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement or recommendation by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. If a parent or student has worked with a lender not listed below, and has received excellent benefits and quality service from this lender, you may continue to do business with that lender. Financial Aid Services will process alternative loans for any lender selected by the student or parent.
The university reviewers from the University of Massachusetts campuses at Lowell, Dartmouth, Boston and Amherst have declared no personal affiliation, financial interest, benefit, or other personal ties related to these lenders in a signed affidavit maintained on file at the university.
Alternative Lenders Application And Solicitation Disclosures
An Application and Solicitation Disclosure is a required document provided to prospective loan borrowers by private lenders that outlines the basic information about the terms and total cost associated with each of the lender’s loans. It helps you (the borrower) make an educated decision, understand the details of your private loan, and compare apples to apples when researching college loans. You will have an idea of the total cost of a loan before you borrow it, including what you will be expected to pay, and when. The document includes loan facts you need to know, such as interest rates, repayment options and eligibility criteria. Every Application and Solicitation Disclosure includes an example showing the total cost of a lender’s loan based on a certain amount borrowed and the terms of repayment. It also provides a comparison of potential federal loan options and the next steps to borrowing a loan.
The Application and Solicitation Disclosure requirement was established by the Truth in Lending Act, which served to fulfill conditions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008. All lenders were required to post Solicitation Disclosures on or with their loan applications by February 14, 2010. Below please find sample Application and Solicitation Disclosures for most of the lenders on our Alternative Loan List. Your Application and Solicitation Disclosure will be specific to your loan amount, terms and interest rate approved.
- AAA Advantage Student Loan
- Citizens Bank
- College Ave Student Loans
- Custom Choice Loan
- Digital Federal Credit Union
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans
- MEFA (Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority)
- Merrimack Valley Credit Union
- NHHEAF (EDvestinU)
- PNC Financial Services Group
- Sallie Mae
- UMass Five Credit Union
- Union Federal Student Loans
Important Information Regarding the Alternative Loan Process
Loan funds will not be released to the school until the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form is complete and submitted to the lender.
Students may obtain a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form from their lender or can download it here. The Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form requires the estimated cost of attendance and estimated financial assistance for the period of enrollment covered by the loan. Students may find this information by logging into their SPIRE account and view financial aid . This form must be submitted to the lender, not the school.
Financial Aid Services will not certify a private loan until the borrower’s file is 100 percent complete with the lender. Borrowers should verify with their lender that all required documents have been completed and received. UMass Amherst uses ELM to certify and disburse private loan funds.