FAFSA School Code: 001146

Alternative Loans: Consider all Options

Applications take up to eight weeks to process.  All certification requests received by November 14 will be certified by the Spring fee payment deadline of December 11 if your file is complete (all other awards accepted or declined AND all “To Do List items” have been completed).

The first possible disbursement date for fall is January 29.

Alternative loans are private loans offered through a lending institution and are not a part of federal student aid programs. Interest rate and repayment provisions vary from lender to lender. It is the responsibility of the student to research and understand the implications of borrowing an alternative educational loan. Keep in mind that alternative loans, along with other aid and educational resources, can never be more than the cost of attendance.

Think FAFSA first. We strongly encourage students to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for federal student aid. While there is a great range of private educational loans available, we do not recommend alternative loans in most cases, as they do not have the beneficial aspects of direct loan programs.

Consider other alternatives to private educational loans

For dependent undergraduate students, we advise parents to consider the Federal Direct PLUS Loan to assist in meeting the cost of attendance, rather than having the student take on additional loan burden at less favorable rates. Download information and an application.

Home owners may also consider a home equity loan or line of credit. This alternative may provide a lower interest rate for some families than a private educational loan, and interest paid may be deductible on tax returns.

When the best plan for you is to pursue an alternative educational loan

While the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office places no restrictions on a student borrower’s choice of lender, we do want you to make a wise choice. Always proceed with caution and be a savvy borrower by researching the best loan products and by getting clear information from lenders on the impacts of both short and long-term borrowing with them. We highly suggest you visit FinAid.org for detailed information on Alternative Private Student Loans including a Private Student Loan and Lender Comparison Chart.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form

All students who apply for an alternative loan are required to submit a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form before their lender can complete the processing of their loan and disburse funds.  A Self-Certification form will be provided by the lender with whom you are working, or you can download one here

Section 2 of the Self-Certification form asks you to complete information on the CSU, Chico Cost of Attendance and other financial aid you receive (if applicable).

  • Cost of Attendance: click here for information on the annual Cost of Attendance (COA).  Divide the amount in half if the period of enrollment is for one semester.
  • The form also requires any Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) for the period of enrollment. If you receive financial aid, you may find your award information by logging into your Portal Account in your Student Center.  Scroll to the section on Finances and click on "View Financial Aid."
  • The difference between the COA and EFA is also required.

If you have questions regarding your Self-Certification process, please contact your lender directly.  If you are unable to locate the necessary information to complete the Self-Certification form, please contact our office.

Follow a plan. Here are some tips:

  • Know the terms. There are many private loan companies with changing terms and conditions. You will benefit from familiarity with loan terms and other financial literacy resources.
  • Give yourself options. We highly recommend that the student borrower research and compare three sources of alternative educational loans before deciding on a lender.
  • Don’t forget COA. Your total aid from all sources can never exceed CSU, Chico’s cost of attendance.
  • Stay with one lender. If you plan to take out alternative loans for successive academic years, it is wise to stay with the same lender for simpler repayment after graduation.
  • When are funds available? Alternative loans take up to eight weeks to process. Alternative loans disburse four weeks after certification. Because of processing needs, the first possible payment of an alternative loan will be:
    • Fall 2014: First possible disbursement date is September 4, 2014
    • Spring 2015: First possible disbursement date is January 29, 2015

Also see Alternative Loans: Selecting a Lender

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