Alternative Student Loans

Alternative loans are available from a lender to assist students to fill the financial aid gap between what the student receives from all financial aid sources and his or her college costs.

Before applying for any type of loan, students should apply for all grants for which they may be eligible (for example, federal Pell and SEOG; New York state grants; your employer or community organizations; and the university's scholarships, among others). If you still have demonstrated financial need, you may apply for federal loans.

If you still have financial need after grants and federal loans, then you can consider private, alternative loans. These types of loans should be considered only after all sources of grants and federal loan eligibility have been determined and exhausted since the terms and conditions are generally not as favorable as federal student loans. Some alternative loans are available to cover past-due balances, nonmatriculated study and study for less than 6 credits, depending on the lender.

Contact the lender of your choice to apply for an alternative loan. Empire State University has no fiscal relationship with any bank or lending organization and we do not recommend one particular private lender over another. If you have questions regarding the legitimacy of a lender or a loan product, please feel free to contact our office.

We encourage our students who need to borrow funds from these sources to shop for the best loan. Carefully review each lender's terms and conditions of the loan, including loan amount; interest rate; term of the loan; pay-off options, incentives and penalties; payment due dates and payment options. We strongly recommend investigating the terms and policies of a number of banks side by side. If you fail to shop for the best loan, you may pay more for your loan than is necessary.

For your convenience we have listed below some talking points that you may want to have with prospective lenders when discussing possible alternative loan products:

  • What is the interest rate (fixed or variable rate)?
  • Are there loan fees?
  • Are there any loan discounts?
  • What are the repayment terms?
  • Is there a grace period or do payments begin immediately after disbursement?
  • Will I need a cosigner?
  • Am I eligible for the loan if I attend less than half time, if I am not making satisfactory academic progress, or if I am not matriculated in a degree program?


Remember that all types of education loans are debts that must be repaid. Carefully review your financial aid package, including grants and federal loans, before deciding on an alternative loan.