Admissions & Aid

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans can help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the amount of financial aid you are eligible for. The loan is typically in the student’s name, but a credit-worthy cosigner is often required.

How it Works

  1. The student applies for a loan with the lender of their choice.
  2. If the loan is approved, the lender sends the college an electronic certification request.  
  3. Once received, the loan is applied to the student’s account as pending until the funds are electronically transferred by the lender.
  4. Funds will be disbursed to student accounts no earlier than the first week of classes.

Graphic illustrating how the student loan process works.

*It is likely that the student will need a co-signer due to their age and length of credit history. This does not have to be a parent.

Things to Consider

  • The interest rate
  • If the interest rate is fixed or variable (can change)
  • Repayment options; When does the loan go into repayment?
  • If the co-signer can be released from the loan

Borrowing Limits

Students may borrow up to the school’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

The Next Step: FASTChoice

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

FastChoice Logo
Loan Period Dates

Private loan applications require a requested loan period. Use the following dates to indicate what semesters you are intending to borrow for. 

Fall and Winter: 9/6/2016 - 4/21/2017
Fall Only: 9/6/2016 - 12/16/2016
Winter Only: 1/9/2017 - 4/21/2017
Spring Only:  4/29/2017 - 5/31/2017
Fall, Winter and Spring: 9/6/2016 - 5/31/2017

Please Note: Incomplete or extended loan periods will result in a delay in processing. 

IMPORTANT: Federal student loans are typically less expensive and offer better terms than private student loans. Exhaust your eligibility for federal student loans before resorting to alternative loans by filling out the FAFSA each year. See Federal Aid First for more information.


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.

 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.