Alternative student loans are offered by banks or lending institutions to assist students or parents in bridging the gap between college costs and traditional funding sources. These loans are private supplemental loans and are not guaranteed by the federal government. Terms and conditions of these loans can vary according to specific lender guidelines.
Both students and parents can borrow alternative student loans. Often they are used to supplement traditional sources of financial need. Stephen F. Austin encourages students to first apply for state and federal aid. In cases where additional assistance is needed, alternative loans may provide the monetary resources for additional educational expenses.
The actual amount a student or parent can borrow varies according to each student's individual financial circumstances. Other variables may include the institutional cost of attendance, financial aid resources, and loan limits imposed by the lender.
Unlike federally guaranteed student loans, lending institutions who offer alternative student loans may impose certain requirements. In most cases a student or parent must have a good credit history, a low debt to income ratio, and in the case of a student borrower, a co-signer may be required.