Virginia Tech®home

Private/Alternative Loans

Private/Alternative Loans

Many banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer private (non-federal) student loans, sometimes called alternative loans. Private loan programs may offer interest rates and terms that are competitive with those of federal loans. However, as you consider your borrowing options, you should keep in mind that federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including income-based repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which private loans are not required to provide. Also, federal direct loans are available to students regardless of income.

Requirements

Available to credit-worthy students; no FAFSA is required. Eligibility for private loans varies among lenders, but a credit check and/or debt-to-income ratio is usually required. A co-borrower may also be required. You must apply for this type of loan separately and meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.  

Myth Busters for Loans

1. You will not overpay interest when you borrow all at once for a full academic year because you only pay interest on the amount disbursed.
2. When you apply for a loan for the full academic year you will have one credit check and one loan payment.
3. If you opt for more than one loan, you may run the risk of being denied on future applications.
4. If the students plans on being enrolled full-time for both semesters, the bill should be very similar both terms. Please review the tuition and fee schedule from the Bursar's Office.
5. When you apply for one loan at the beginning of the academic year, you will have peace of mind knowing that the aid you applied for is in place for the entire academic year.

To Apply

FASTChoice is a tool that offers information about private loans to help determine which lender is best for you.  Our office does not endorse or represent any of the lenders participating in FASTChoice, nor will the University or its representatives be able to provide advice on choosing a lender.

Updates to an Alternative/Private Loan

Please allow eight (8) weeks for your lender to update loan records if a return of private alternative loan funds becomes necessary due to reduction or cancellation by the borrower or school.