Alternative Loans

After exhausting available federal and family resources, some students may need to apply for an alternative student loan to pay for educational expenses.  Federal regulations now require additional steps to be taken during the loan application process.  Students must now acknowledge three separate disclosure notices and complete a student self-certification form with information that can be obtained from their myPlymouth account. Due to these new requirements, the time required to process your loan will be extended.

To assist you through this process, we recommend that you:

  • Start the application process early, but not too early. Since Alternative Loans must be disbursed within 90 – 120 days from the date the lender runs a credit check, it is not recommended that loans for Fall be applied for prior to June or loans for Spring be applied for prior to October.
  • Confirm that you are applying for the correct time period.  Typically, you want to apply once  a year for the amount you will need for both terms.
  • If you do want to apply for each term separately, Fall only loans should have a loan period of September through December; Spring only loans should have a loan period of January through May.  Any loan with a loan period of September through May will be split equally between the fall and spring terms.
  • Complete and return requests from your lender in a timely manner
  • Check the status of your loan with your lender frequently


PSU provides a tool called FASTChoice Solutions if assistance is needed in selecting an alternative (private) lender.  This tool is provided by Great Lakes Higher Education Assistance Corporation (GLHEAC) to assist PSU students in selecting a lender and provide the ability to compare the benefits and terms of each loan program to assist students in making the best choice.

Don’t see the lender you want to use? Not a problem.  This list is a starting point and is not meant to be all inclusive.  Students can choose to borrow from any lender whether listed in FASTChoice or not.

In recent years, many credit unions have begun to offer competitive rates on alternative student loans.  Since credit union membership is required to take advantage of those rates, it is difficult to list them on a general lender list.

Many states offer their residents very attractive student loan options to finance any remaining gaps after federal eligibility has been exhausted.  If you are a resident of one of the following states, please click on the link corresponding to your state of residency for more information about these programs:

Connecticut:  CHESLA – 1-888-295-0911
Massachusetts:  MEFA – 1-800-449-6332
Maine: MELA – 1-800-922-6352
New Hampshire: NHHELCO – 1-855-887-5430
New Jersey: NJ CLASS – 1-800-792-8670
Rhode Island: RISLA – 1-800-758-7562
Vermont:  VSAC: Vermont Advantage – 1-800-798-8722


Some things to consider when applying for an alternative loan
Important information on how PSU processes your loan

Thinking about a Private Loan? Be sure to understand the full impact it will have on your financial aid package and your budget.  Below are some important questions to ask a private lender when applying for a loan.

Borrower Eligibility
Interest Rates and Other Fees
Loan Application Process
Repayment Terms and Conditions


An Important Note about Credit

Lenders use credit scores to make fast and objective decisions on which applicants are likely to repay their loans on time. Credit scoring is calculated using many pieces of your past bill payment history (number and types of accounts, late payments, outstanding debt, and the age of your accounts).

The way you have handled credit in the past is often a good indication of how you will manage credit in the future. Therefore, your credit score is like a snapshot of your level of credit risk at a particular point in time; when your credit information changes, so does your credit score.

Give yourself the credit you deserve. Pay your bills on time, pay down any outstanding debt and avoid taking on new debt or applying for too many new credit cards.  (Note:  myFICO  is a great place to find out more about what your FICO score is.  They even give you tips to improve your FICO score, as well as facts and fallacies about your FICO score!)

Starting July 2011, as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, consumers who are rejected for student loans are entitled to receive a free copy of their credit score and an explanation of why they were turned down. The reasons can range from late payments to maxing out credit cards. Creditors are also supposed to explain where the score ranks nationally, and outline the factors that brought the score down. (Chicago Sun-Times)

April 7th, 2014 by Eric

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