Admissions & Aid

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the limited amount of federal loans the government allows you to borrow under the current program. Alternative or private loans are offered by private lenders and there are no federal forms to complete.

Eligibility for private student loans often depends on students’ and parents’ credit scores. Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid already received. The loan is in the student’s name, but a credit-worthy cosigner is required.

Federal education loans are less expensive and offer better terms than private student loans, so you should exhaust your eligibility for federal student loans before resorting to private student loans by filling out the FAFSA each year. The federal education loans offer fixed interest rates that are lower than the variable rates offered by most private student loans. Federal education loans also offer better repayment and forgiveness options; see Federal Aid First.


Check out the FASTChoice online tool to compare alternative loans from numerous lenders.




Because of a change in the law, starting February 14, 2010, lenders will require student applicants to supply a Self-Certification Form as part of the application process. The lender should provide the form to you either online or in the mail.

Private Loan Dates

Private loan applications require a requested loan period. Use the following dates, always applying for the full year unless the student is attending only one semester:

Fall and Winter: 9/8/2015 - 4/22/2016
Fall Only: 9/8/2015 - 12/18/2015
Winter Only: 1/11/2016 - 4/26/2016
Spring Only:  5/1/2016 - 5/26/2016
Fall, Winter and Spring: 9/8/2015 - 5/26/2016

If you have questions about any of the federal or alternative loan programs, please call the Financial Aid Office at 989-463-7347.

*Neither Alma College nor the Financial Aid Office promotes, endorses or recommends any of these loan products or lenders