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Alternative or Private Loans

Looking to bridge the gap between education-related costs and financial aid? Learn about alternative or private loan options for students at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Sometimes traditional financial aid resources are not enough to cover all of a student's costs while attending school. Alternative, or private, loans can help.

Alternative loans are not guaranteed by the federal government; they must be insured privately. This is a cost that the private lenders may pass on to the borrower in the form of hidden fees and interest rates. Terms and conditions can vary according to the specific lender.

The school determines the amount a student is eligible to apply for based on the cost of attendance less financial aid and other resources. The lender decision is based on the student's creditworthiness and the amount the school certifies the student is eligible to borrow, except for alternative loans not requiring school need certification. The lender may also have a minimum or maximum.

Legislation under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) mandated changes in the processing of private student loans. Lenders are now required to provide three separate disclosures to borrowers.

How much can I borrow?

The amount a student can borrow is determined by the cost of attendance minus other financial aid and resources. Here is an example:

Cost of attendance: $43,000
Other aid awarded: $20,500
Amount student can borrow through an alternative loan: $22,500

What are the eligibility requirements for an alternative loan?

These requirements may vary by lender but are the most common:

  • Undergraduate or Graduate/Professional student in an eligible degree or certificate program
  • Enrolled at least half-time
  • Be a creditworthy borrower or borrower with a creditworthy co-signer
  • Students may be required to be a U.S .citizen, permanent resident or eligible non-citizen
  • Making satisfactory academic progress

What factors should I consider before choosing an alternative loan?

Listed below are some questions to ask when researching various lenders. We recommend that you not apply with multiple lenders because each application will result in an inquiry on your credit report.

  • What is the interest rate and what is it based on? Current market data
  • What is the LIBOR?
  • What is the prime rate?
  • What is the possible interest rate for this loan?
  • When does repayment begin?
  • Can principal and interest be deferred?
  • How much is the loan origination fee?
  • Is a co-signer required?
  • What is the loan maximum I can borrow each year?
  • What is the minimum I can borrow each year?
  • Can I borrow to cover past due balances from a previous term?
  • Are there any interest rate reductions or other incentives for borrowers who make their payments on time?
  • Will my lender sell my loan to another agency/company? If so, will the terms change?
  • Can I repay with no penalty?
  • Does my lender offer a co-signer release option?
  • Will the lender capitalize interest? How often?

What is my credit score?

For a free credit report, visit You can receive one free report from each of the three credit bureaus annually. If you want to view your credit score, you must purchase those from the credit bureaus: Experian, Transunion or Equifax.

What do the credit scores mean?

500 and below= worst interest rates
500-580= higher interest rates
580-620= higher interest rates
620-640= good interest rates
640-650= good interest rates
650-680= very good interest rates
680-700= very good interest rates
700-720= very good interest rates
720 and above= best interest rates

How do I apply for an alternative loan?

Before applying for an alternative loan, please contact Student Financial Aid at 913-588-5170, or email to determine if there are any other sources of financial aid available.

If you are a graduate or medical student, we recommend you consider the Federal Grad PLUS Loan before applying for an alternative loan. Contact our office for the amount you are eligible to borrow for the academic year.

You can complete the following steps to apply for a private loan after you have contacted our office to determine your eligibility:

What are the names of some private lenders?

The alphabetical list below includes all lenders selected by KU Medical Center students who have secured alternative loans during the past six academic years. This list is provided as a courtesy to students and does not indicate that KU Medical Center or the Office of Student Financial Aid endorses any lender or agrees with the information presented within or by these their websites.

Multiple lenders should be researched before selecting one that best meets your needs. You are not required to choose a lender from this list. You will be notified if KU Medical Center is not able to certify an alternative loan with the lender you choose.

Please view the following lender websites to learn more about their loan specifics. The content of these websites, such as interest rates, loan fees, borrower benefits and other elements considered when constructing the list, can change frequently.

Keep in mind that borrowers may receive better terms if a co-signer is used. Some lenders offer a co-signer release option.

Ascent Funding

Bank of North Dakota
DEAL Student Loan

Citizens Bank

College Ave. Student Loans

Commerce Bank
Your Future Education Loan

Community America Credit Union


Funding University

Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation (ISL Education Lending)

CU Student Loans

Nelnet Student Loans


SallieMae Student Loans

SallieMae Medical School Loan


How do I complete the self-certification form required by the private lender I chose?

If your lender has provided a self-certification form for you to complete and return to the lender, or if your lender has provided an online self-certification form, follow these instructions.

If you have any questions or for more information, contact Student Financial Aid at (913) 588-5170 or email

Student Financial Aid

University of Kansas Medical Center
Student Financial Aid Office
Mailstop 4005
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, Kan. 66160

Location: G035 Dykes Library
: 913-588-5170
Fax: 913-588-8841