Alternative loans are offered by private lending institutions and are not guaranteed by the federal government. These funds are available to credit and non-credit students who may not be eligible for federal financial aid or who may need to bridge the gap between the actual cost of education and their federal financial aid. The lender will use credit history and other factors to determine a student's eligibility. Some may require that you obtain a cosigner before approving your loan. Important news for Alternative loan borrows: Effective February 14, 2010, Alternative loan regulations have changed and will take a minimum of 30 days to process.
Some students turn to alternative education loans when federal education loans do not provide enough money or when they need more flexible repayment options. However, since federal education loans offer better terms than alternative loans, you should exhaust your eligibility for federal student loans before resorting to private student loans. COCC encourages students to maximize all other financial resources such as grants and federal student loans by applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Before deciding to apply for alternative loans, consider scholarships as a possible resource.
COCC does not make private lender or loan program recommendations. COCC does not have a preferred provider list. If you determine that an alternative loan is right for you, we encourage you to research the lender that best meets your needs. Students using Sallie Mae or Wells Fargo as their lender will receive notification from COCC via their COCC email account with next step instructions. A COCC loan specialist will work with the lender to certify the loan electronically and COCC will facilitate the disbursements.
Students choosing other lenders will need to complete and submit to their lender, the Applicant Self-Certification form.
Tips for alternative loans:
Apply for one alternative loan for the full academic year, rather than applying for a new alternative loan every term. We recommend that you meet with your academic advisor and determine a tentative academic plan for the year and apply for the amount you need to cover your costs for the full year. We will disburse your loan funds based on the flight labs you register in each term. We have provided budget and academic planning worksheet to assist you in this process. Please be sure to provide the financial aid office with your academic plan so we can adjust your budget appropriately.
Alternative loans are based on your credit rating and debt to income ratio. If you have a low credit rating or a significant amount of outstanding debt, you should work on improving your credit score by paying your bills on time and reduce your debt by paying down your current loans. We cannot recommend a lender, but we do recommend that you shop around for the best interest rate.