Alternative Student Loans
Private or Alternative Loans are educational loans offered by private lending institutions and are not part of the federal government student loan program. They may not require a FAFSA.
At this time Texas A&M University-San Antonio does not have a preferred lender list. Texas A&M University-San Antonio does not recommend or prefer any specific lenders for private loans. Students may select any lender offering private loans. We recommend students to compare private loans from several lenders to find the best interest rate/terms and repayment options.
Private loan interest rates are variable and are not protected by Federal Student Loan regulations and may be substantially higher than the federal loan programs. Private loans require a student to be credit-worthy or have a credit-worthy co-signer. The lender will notify students of the interest rates and fees they are eligible for after a credit review.
Before You Borrow
Before borrowing loans, first accept all financial aid offered that does not need to be repaid. Borrowing should be a last source of funding. To be considered for other forms of financial aid such as Federal Loans and Grants, you must complete the FAFSA, as eligibility is based on the FAFSA.
Remember that dropping below half-time status or leaving school before earning a degree, will result on repayment beginning immediately. Be sure to read your Rights and Responsibilities as a student borrower before borrowing. Plan your repayment options carefully to prevent defaulting on your student loans, as the consequences may prevent obtaining employment, a home mortgage, or other credit history required prospects, including maintaining any professional licensure you may have.
- Eligibility for private loans is based on the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid received.
- Some lenders require half-time enrollment and/or for students to be meeting A&M-San Antonio’s institutional Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
- Students must visit the lender(s) website for additional eligibility requirements.
The Application Process
Students, who would like to access a neutral and comprehensive comparison chart, please visit FASTChoice Solutions.
FASTChoice is a loan comparison tool that assists borrowers in deciding on a private loan that is best suited for their needs. We do not recommend, suggest, or endorse any of the lenders. Students are not limited to the lenders listed in the chart and may borrow from any lender of their choice by directly visiting the web site of the lender they wish to borrow.
Once eligible students apply, get approved by the lender based on their credit history and complete all the required paperwork, the selected lender will send A&M-San Antonio a certification request. A&M-San Antonio will verify the above eligibility and certify the request accordingly. A&M-San Antonio will not certify a loan for a student who does not meet the above Eligibility requirements. Once A&M San Antonio certifies the loan, your lender will forward the loan proceeds in accordance with the loan period to the school. Please note that there is a 4-6 week processing time for Private Loans. You will be notified when the loan proceeds are available
Some states offer their residents with student loan options to finance any remaining gaps after federal eligibility has been exhausted. Texas Residents may consider Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board loan program.
Important Changes Effective February 14, 2010
Students pursuing Alternative loans through a lending institution will be subject to new Federal guidelines. The new guidelines will require that lending institutions provide three additional disclosures to the borrower regarding their loan application, approval, and acceptance status. The purposes of these disclosures are to:
- Present the terms, conditions and costs of the loan
- Allow for comparisons between lending institutions and promote informed borrowing
- Present lower cost federal options that may be available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- The borrower is allowed 30 days to accept the terms and conditions of the loan outlined in the approval disclosure.
- Students will be required to submit a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form to their lender. No funds will be disbursed until form is returned to the lender. This form can be obtained from your lender or through FASTChoice. Information regarding the total cost of attendance at A&M-San Antonio can be found at http://www.tamusa.edu/financialaid/costofattendance%20.html.
- Federal regulations require colleges and universities to notify student loan borrowers of their right to cancel all or a portion of their loan or loan disbursement. No action is required on the student’s part unless wanting to reduce, or cancel your loan(s). Requests must be made in writing and should be sent via email directly to the Office of Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the borrower’s full name, student ID number, the name of the alternative loan and the amount to be reduced or cancelled. If the cancellation results in a balance due on the student’s account, payment will be required.
School Certification and Disbursement
Due to these new regulations if you have specific questions regarding your alternative loan disbursement, please contact your lender.
Points to consider when choosing a lender:
- Interest rates - interest may be capitalized. Borrowers may qualify for slightly lower interest rates if using a cosigner.
- Fees - Interest rates and fees are based on the borrowers and cosigners credit score.
- Borrower Benefits - vary by lender.
- Repayments Terms - Some lenders required borrowers to pay while enrolled. Others will defer payments until after graduation.
- Borrowing an Alternative (private) loan is based on credit checks and should only be done after reviewing all other aid offered and contacting different lenders for the best terms.
- An Alternative loan is an agreement between the borrower, cosigner and the lender.