The student is the borrower for alternative loans; however, in almost all cases, a credit-worthy cosigner is required. Having a credit-worthy cosigner will also likely reduce the cost of the loan (interest rate, upfront and back-end fees, etc.) Please be aware that the cosigner is fully responsible for repaying the loan should the borrower stop making payments. There are some alternative loan products that offer a cosigner release option after a specified number of on-time payments are made and the borrower is credit-worthy.

The Financial Aid Office strongly encourages you to borrow the Federal Direct Stafford Loan first and then consider the HES Payment Plan and/or the Federal Direct PLUS Loan before applying for a student alternative loan. The interest rate and repayment terms may be more favorable than those of alternative loans, also known as private loans.

The borrower and/or cosigner are responsible for repaying these loans. For a sample repayment schedule, contact the lender of your student alternative loan.

How do I select a student alternative loan?

LVC partners with ELM Select to provide you with a student alternative loan comparison tool. The loan products included on this site are recommended by LVC by undergoing a Request for Information (RFI) process. This process is completed every two years to determine who should be listed on our Preferred Lender list. Information is requested from 10-12 lenders, which is then reviewed to narrow the list down to what we deem as the top 5. The following criteria are reviewed and evaluated for each lender:

  • Competitive Interest Rates and fees
  • Flexible Repayment Options
  • Cosigner release option and the time frame for it to be considered
  • Monetary back-end benefits

Please be aware that you are not required to borrow from any of the lenders on our list.  You are free to conduct your own research and comparison of alternative loan products and select any lender of your choice.

Below is a list of lenders included on LVC's customized ELM Select website along with information each lender is required to share with potential student borrowers. To compare loans among these lenders, please visit LVC's ELM Select webpage.


New students: you should NOT apply for a student alternative loan prior to April 15, 2019, for the 2019-2020 academic year. Filing prior to this date may result in your credit approval expiring.

Returning students: you should NOT apply for a student alternative loan prior to receiving your award package in early July and no later than August 1. 

If you need to borrow an alternative loan and you will be enrolled for less than 6 credits during a semester, you may borrow through Sallie Mae or Wells Fargo. The other lenders LVC recommends require you to be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits per semester. 

During the application process, the lender will request you to complete the Applicant Self-Certification Form. In addition to demographic information, there are two pieces of information needed to complete the form. Both may be found within your financial award package:

  1. Student Cost of Attendance - found at the top the Award Descriptions page included in the financial award package.
  2. Estimated Financial Assistance - found on the financial award letter below the types and amounts of aid included in the financial award package.

Please return this form to your lender. LVC does not collect or process this form.