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Alternative loans are designed to meet the gap between the student’s financial aid package and the actual cost of attending college.  These loans are offered by private lenders and are more expensive than the Federal Direct Stafford Loan programs.  You should always apply for federal student loans before using private lenders. The amount borrowed cannot exceed the cost of education, minus other financial aid.  All private loan programs will do a credit check and/or an income-to-debt ratio check on either the borrower or co-signer or both.

Loan Information

Applying for Loans

Federal Direct Loans

Alternative Loans

Consolidation Loans

Exit Counseling

It is important to compare the terms of the loans from several private lenders before choosing the lender and program that is best for you.

A non-federal private loan may be an appropriate choice for you, if:

  • Have you applied for the maximum amount of all federal loans suggested to you and still have a difference between the cost of attendance and the total financial aid you have received?
  • US Government regulations make you ineligible for a federal loan.  You may still qualify for a private loan because such programs are not bound by the same federal restrictions.  For example, if you are not making satisfactory academic progress, are in default on a federal loan, did not respond to verification requests, are enrolled for less than 6 credits, or are ineligible for federal loans for other reasons, you may be eligible for private loans instead.
  • You are in arrears for a term prior to the current term.  You may be able to receive a private loan for an earlier loan period.

Helpful tips to aid you in your research: (not intended to be all inclusive)

  • What is the interest rate? How often will it change?

  • Is the interest rate capitalized annually or when repayment begins?

  • Are there loan origination fees and if so, how much?

  • Does the lender offer repayment incentives such as an interest rate reduction for automatic debit or consecutive on time payments?

  • Is a co-signer required? Is there a co-signer release option available?

  • Is there a grace period?

  • When will repayment begin?

  • What are the annual and aggregate loan limits?

  • How long is the repayment period?

Some private loans do not have full deferment options.  It is best to borrow only the amount that you absolutely require.  Also, note that such loans are for educational purposes only, which means you must be a registered student and the amount you borrow cannot exceed the cost of attendance.  (Specific alternative loan programs may have fixed minimum and maximum amounts for which you can apply.)  There are no maximum income restrictions.  Individual lenders will evaluate credit history.  Application fees are not refundable. 

If you decide to apply for a private educational loan, you must provide all documentation requested by the lender and follow their application instructions.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification:  Federal government regulations require that a lender must obtain a self-certification signed by the loan applicant before disbursing a private education loan.  Student borrowers must complete the Private Education Loan Self-Certification form (which is provided by the lender as part of the application process) and return it to the lender. 

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Columbia Gorge Community College, Financial Aid Office, 400 East Scenic Drive, The Dalles OR  97058 – P (541) 506-6021 – F (877) 368-6370




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