Financial Aid

Alternative Loans

Alternative (Private) 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.

Where to look?

Meet ElmSelect! This interactive tool allows students to compare different types of Student Loans. Just click on the ElmSelect button below! 

elmselect button

elm calculator While on ElmSelct…Do not forgot to try out the Loan Estimator Tool on the top left corner! This will help you estimate your loan details such as interest rates, monthly payment, and total closing costs for a loan!  

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

Alt. Loan Process 

  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.

Borrowing Limits

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

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

2021 - 2022 Academic Year
Fall - Winter 8/30/2021 - 4/22/2022
Fall, Winter, & Spring 8/30/2021 - 5/26/2022
Fall Only 8/30/2021 - 12/10/2021
Winter Only 1/5/2022 - 4/22/2022
Spring Only 5/1/2022 - 5/26/2022
Summer 6/1/2022 - 8/19/2022

Past Due Balance? If you owe on your account for a term you previously attended, you will need to see if your Lender approves “Past Due Balance Loans” . You will need to request the loan using the Loan Period Date for the term you attended. View pass academic year loan dates here. 

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.


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.


We do not endorse specific lenders, rather just advertise free resources offered by lenders that can help the student decide on a lender and learn more about borrowing private loans.

Visit Discover's "College Covered" page. Learn about private loans and more about D... Visit Discover's "College Covered" page. Learn about private loans and more about Discover!