Skip to main content
Apply Now

Alternative Loans

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans - also called "private" loans - are loans from a lending institution; they are not part of the federal government's guaranteed student loan programs.  Based on current interest rates, if you, or your co-signer, have excellent credit, you may find these loans to be a less expensive option than the federal loans.  Use the Alternative Loan Comparison chart and other resources to choose the loan that best meets your needs.  It is always important to research your eligibility for scholarships, grants, and employment before taking out a loan.


Students who are enrolled, pass a credit check with their lender, and have not already funded their full cost of attendance with other aid sources are eligible to apply.

Interest Rate and Fees

The interest rates and fees vary by lender and credit rating.

Important Considerations

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The APR is the annual cost of your loan; it includes interest and the effect of any fees and charges. APRs will differ depending on the terms and amounts of your loan. If the rate is variable, the APR may change during the life of the loan. Carefully consider the terms and APRs when you borrow an alternative loan.
  • Fees: Does the lender charge any type of fees? Some lenders charge no fees at all, while some charge fees at the time they disburse, at repayment, or both.
  • Loan Limits: Is there a maximum amount you can borrow? Does the loan have an annual or aggregate limit? Will these limits meet your needs?
  • Co-Signer Release: Does the loan require you to have a co-signer? Does the lender offer a co-signer release option after you make a required number of on time payments?
  • Interest Capitalization: What happens if you choose not to pay interest while you are in school? When is the interest added? If the interest is capitalized monthly, quarterly, or annually, the loan is more expensive than if the loan is capitalized once at repayment.
  • Servicers: Does the lender sell their loans or contract with a servicer? Some lenders service their own loans; others may sell loans or contract with a service agency. If your loan is sold or serviced to another agency, all future correspondence and payments must go to the new agency.
  • Benefits: Does the lender offer incentive rewards for on-time payments or prior banking history with the institution?

 Credit Checks and Scores

Lenders use credit scores to make credit decisions to determine which applicants are likely to repay their loans on time. Credit scoring is calculated using many pieces of your past bill history. The way a person managed credit in the past is often a good indication of how they will manage credit in the future. Therefore, your credit score is like a snapshot of your level of credit risk at a particular time. So, give yourself the credit you deserve. Pay your bills on time and avoid applying for too many credit accounts. It is a good practice to periodically monitor your own credit report. You may obtain a copy of your credit report by contacting any or all of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax 800.685.1111, Experian 888.397.3742, or TransUnion 800.888.4213.

Alternative Loan Lender Information

The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at Eastern Washington University does not endorse or recommend lenders for alternative loans.  To assist you in determining which lender is right for you, we have listed all lenders that have been used by EWU students within the last three years. This is not a preferred lender list nor does it represent every lender offering alternative loans.   For a more convenient way to compare lenders, please visit  On that site, you will be able to view a variety lenders and the loans they offer. You can also apply for a loan though that site.

Students are encouraged to apply for alternative loans with a co-signer because this often means a better chance of approval and a lower interest rate.

Once you have been approved by a lender to borrow through their program, the lender will contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for certification of the loan.  The amount you receive cannot exceed the cost of attendance minus other aid.


Loan name


Apply Online

Alaska Student Loan Corp

Alaska Supplemental

*Alaska residents only


Commerce Bank

Your Future Education Loan


Discover Student Loans

Discover Undergraduate and Graduate Loans

*requires half-time enrollment

800.788.3368 or 1.800.STUDENT


Student Choice


Sallie Mae

Smart Option Student Loan


SunTrust Bank

Custom Choice


Wells Fargo



© 2017 Eastern Washington University
EWU expands opportunities for personal transformation through excellence in learning.