There are many private loan programs available to students and parents that offer low-cost, flexible ways to meet educational costs. Creditworthy borrowers may choose the best private program to suit their individual needs. The interest rates on these alternative loans are usually variable, without a cap.

You are strongly encouraged to exhaust all grants, scholarships, and federal loan options prior to considering an alternative (private) student loan. Federal education loans usually have terms that are more advantageous to the borrower than terms available under alternative loan programs.

But if you are not eligible for a U.S. federal Direct Loan or a Canada Student Loan, or if you need to borrow more than these loan programs provide, there are many alternative education loan products available from individual banks.

A useful resource for information about alternative education loans is the website of, which maintains a list of the most popular private student loans. It has an alphabetical directory of over 300 lenders, and the site provides very complete lender information. The site does not receive any compensation from lenders, although it does accept lender advertising.

If you intend to borrow an alternative education loan, please complete your loan application during the spring or summer preceding the school year.

Since an alternative student loan changes the family's schedule of payments owed to the College for the current year, a revised Payment Plan & Promissory Note will be sent to the family for signature after an alternative student loan is approved. The revised Payment Plan & Promissory Note will need to be signed and returned to the College.