Alternative/Private Loan Options

There are a number of lenders who provide alternative loans. The College can provide you with a list of those lenders that students have used in the past; we, however, don’t rank or recommend any lenders.

Be an Informed Borrower

Loan provisions and requirements vary greatly and change frequently. You should contact the lender for specific information regarding the most current interest rate, fees and eligibility requirements before taking a loan. You should carefully research the loan company you are considering doing business with. The Federal Trade Commission has a helpful web site that provides tips on items to look for when selecting a lender.

Important Information About Applying

Once you have decided to apply for an alternative loan allow 3-5 business days to have your application forwarded to our office. When you have completed your application online you should notify our office either via email or calling 517/629-0440.

Items to Consider When Comparing Loans

To ensure that you are fully informed, you should read the lender's application and promissory note fully for specific information regarding the terms and conditions of your loan. Important questions to ask before taking a loan include:


  • What is the minimum and maximum loan amounts offered per year and cumulatively?
  • Is the amount you are eligible to borrow tied to school costs and other financial aid received?
  • What is the approximate time it takes to obtain a decision for loan approval?
  • Are there any minimum enrollment requirements? If so, what are they?
  • What are the credit criteria for loan approval? Do they include a debt-to-income ratio or other income requirements?
  • What is considered "poor credit," and is no credit considered poor credit?
  • What steps will the lender take to help qualify borrowers with poor credit?
  • Are co-signers an option or a requirement? Under what conditions are they required?
  • Is there an option to release the co-signer at a later date? If so, what are the conditions?

Interest Rates and Fees:

  • What is the interest rate? What is it based on (i.e. Prime, T-Bill, etc.)?
  • Is the interest rate fixed or variable? If variable, how frequently can the rate change?
  • Is there a maximum amount the interest rate can increase with each change?
  • Is the loan adjusted based on a rate changes? For example, will interest be capitalized (added to the principal) or will the repayment term or amount be adjusted?
  • What fees are charged? When and how are fees paid?
  • What is the total cost of the loan over the life of the loan?

Repayment Terms and Conditions:

  • What are the minimum and maximum repayment terms and payment amounts?
  • Are there any restrictions or special conditions you need to consider?
  • When does repayment begin? Is there a grace period before payments are expected? If so, how long is it?
  • Can payments be deferred? If so, under what circumstances?
  • Are payments required while you are in school?
  • Are there any prepayment penalties?


After originating a loan, the lender can keep the loan until it is paid in full, sell it to a secondary market or keep it and contract with a servicer to manage the day-to-day details of tracking and collecting loan payments.

  • When are the loan funds disbursed?
  • Will you have online access to the application process and for account inquiry?
  • Who do you contact for questions about your loans?
  • Can the lender combine your private and federal loan payments into one bill?

Obtaining a Loan:

There are a number of lenders that provide alternative loans; review a list of popular lenders.