Alternative/Private Student Loans

What Is an Alternative/Private Educational Loan?

Alternative/Private educational loans are credit-based loans issued by a nongovernmental private party lender. Students may borrow up to the full cost of their education, minus all other financial aid. Lenders may approve students for an amount higher than the cost of attendance however, the certified loan amount is never allowed to exceed the cost of attendance. Private loans may carry a higher interest rate or have a variable interest rate because eligibility is based upon individual credit score. There may also be fees associated with the loan.

Who Should Consider a Private Educational Loan?

  • Nonmatriculated students
  • International students (if the lender allows, usually requires a U.S.-based co-signer)
  • Students attending less than half-time (six credits), contingent upon lender approval
  • Undergraduate students who have reached their federal aggregate/lifetime or annual loan limits, and do not have aid up to their cost of attendance

Who Should Consider Federal Student Aid Before a Private Loan?

  • Any student who meets the eligibility criteria to file a FAFSA should file to first determine his or her federal aid eligibility before applying for a private loan.
  • Graduate students who are eligible for federal student aid and who have borrowed up to their annual or lifetime maximum should consider the Graduate PLUS loan first before applying for a private loan.

Who Should Schedule a Financial Aid Planning Session?

  • Students who have never borrowed a private loan
  • Students who have never borrowed a private loan while attending Brooklyn College
  • Students who have borrowed a private loan in the past but want help evaluating other options that may be better for them

To schedule a financial aid planning session in the Navigate appointment system, visit our services page and review the instructions for advisement appointments.

More information to consider is available on the CUNY Private Alternative Loan Webpage.

What Is the Alternative Loan Application Process

  1. Use the ELMselect Lender Comparison Tool to compare different lenders.
  2. Complete the application for the lender of your choice and provide all requested information/documents to the lender. This includes the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form.
  3. The lender of your choice determines whether your loan application is approved or denied based on its lending criteria (including credit score).
  4. Once the loan is approved, you must complete the Brooklyn College Private Educational Alternative Loan release electronic form on the forms page for the relevant academic year.
  5. Financial Aid staff review the approved loan amount in the ELM system, your private educational alternative loan release form, and certify the loan based on your cost of attendance. The gross amount of the loan will be posted to your CUNYfirst financial aid package.
  6. The disbursement date is determined during the certification process. Note: The earliest that a disbursement can take place is 14 days from the date of certification. This is due to the federal law governing the Borrower Right of Refusal period. The lender will not release the loan proceeds until that period has elapsed. Alternative loan disbursements are always scheduled to occur on Thursday.
  7. On or after the disbursement date, the loan proceeds are applied to your CUNYfirst account and applied to any outstanding charges on your CUNYfirst account.
  8. Any loan proceeds exceeding your charges are refunded to you on the following Friday, eight days after the disbursement date.

Note: Brooklyn College complies with the CUNY Model Mode of Conduct, which prohibits staff from making recommendations for a particular lender.

Required Private Educational Loan Disclosure

Federal regulations require that a private educational lender provide applicants with a loan disclosure that complies with federal consumer finance regulations § 1026.46 and § 1026.47.

We recommend that you review the loan disclosure to understand the terms of the loan and its financial implications to you before you complete the application process.

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