The purpose of an alternative loan is to supplement a student's financial aid package. Alternative loans are not federally endorsed or guaranteed, but they generally must be certified by the office of financial aid at Notre Dame. An alternative loan cannot exceed your cost of attendance (financial aid budget) minus all other financial aid.
If you have not done so already, we advise you to consider other financial aid and/or federal loans first. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Education.
Alternative loans should be a last resort, used only when all other resources have been explored.
You may wish to consider an alternative or private student loan if:
Students may be looking for a private student loan in the following situations. It is the student's responsibility to inform the lender of the special circumstances and confirm if eligible:
You are encouraged to research the loan product that is best for you by visiting lender websites and contacting the lender's customer service department with questions. Since private loans are not federally endorsed, each lender's loan program varies on interest rates, fees, the amount you may borrow (minimum and maximum) and repayment terms.
When considering private student loans, we recommend using an unbiased source to compare products, such as ELMSelect.
As with all borrowing, students and parents must carefully consider the terms of an alternative student loan before borrowing. Questions to ask an alternative student loan lender might include:
Note: Notre Dame of Maryland does not endorse any specific lender or group of lenders. The application for an alternative student loan is made directly through the lending institution. As a part of this process, the office of financial aid will certify enrollment and other information for the borrower.
Unlike Direct loans, alternative loans are based on creditworthiness. The first step in applying is a credit check through the lender. Students are encouraged to apply with a co-signer to improve their chances of being approved.