There are many "alternative" student loan products (also known as "private" student loans) available to students and parents. These loan products can offer low-cost, flexible ways to meet educational costs. Creditworthy borrowers may choose the best alternative program to suit their individual needs.

You are encouraged to exhaust all grants, scholarships, and federal student loan options prior to considering an alternative student loan or alternative parent loan. Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including, but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide; and federal student loans are available to students regardless of income.

But if you are not eligible for a Federal Direct Student Loan or a Canada Student Loan, or if you need to borrow more than these loan programs provide, there are many alternative education loan products available from individual banks.

If you would like to research some alternative loan options, please visit our alternative lender comparison tool maintained by FASTChoice. Eligibility, terms and conditions, and loan amount may vary for different loan providers. Eligibility and interest rates are tied to a loan seeker's creditworthiness. Generally, a loan amount cannot be greater than the College's cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

Thomas Aquinas College provides this information as a convenience for students and neither endorses any particular lender nor limits a student to only these lenders. The College will certify any alternative student loan for which you are approved.

If you intend to borrow an alternative education loan, please complete your loan application during the spring or summer preceding the school year.

Alternative loans are disbursed at the start of each term. Half of the proceeds are disbursed in the fall and half in the spring. Proceeds are normally applied to the student's account but can also be disbursed directly to the borrower for other education-related expenses such as transportation.

Since an alternative student loan changes the family's schedule of payments owed to the College for the current year, a revised Payment Plan and Promissory Note will be sent to the family for signature after an alternative student loan is approved. The revised Payment Plan and Promissory Note will need to be signed and returned to the College.