Alternative Loans

What is an alternative loan?

An alternative loan is a student loan that may be borrowed through an outside lending institution to assist with education-related expenses such as tuition, housing, travel, and books.

Who can apply for an alternative loan?

While any student can apply for an alternative loan, it is important to exhaust your federal loan options first. Independent students who have exhausted their annual or lifetime federal loan limits, dependent students whose parents cannot or do not wish to take a parent loan, continuing education students or students in programs that are not long enough to be eligible for federal aid, or students wo have lost aid eligibility due to Satisfactory Academic Progress violations are examples of students who may want to consider an alternative loan.

Will I qualify for an alternative loan?

Most students, unless they have a significant credit history and are working full-time, will require a cosigner. Alternative loans are based on credit, so loan applications are based on the credit of the student and the cosigner.

How do I choose a lender and apply?

BRCC is pleased to offer a list of preferred lenders for review using the FastChoice lender selection and application tool. On this site, you will be able to compare the lenders on our list side by side, check out their benefits, interest rates, and terms, and when you choose a lender, you can apply right from the site.

How were the lenders on the list chosen?

The BRCC Financial Aid Office reviewed all lenders who were present at the most recent VASFAA (Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) Conference as well as the most commonly used lenders in the last 3 years at BRCC. All of these lenders were deemed satisfactory for inclusion on our list, and those who were willing to lend to community colleges are included.

May I use a lender that is not on the list?

Absolutely. BRCC is happy to use any loan from any lender, provided that they are willing to lend to a student at BRCC. Students may apply for a loan with any lender they choose.

The Financial Aid Office strongly recommends that eligible students in credit programs exhaust all federal aid options before applying for alternative loans (note that credit students who are not meeting SAP and students in noncredit programs are not eligible for federal aid). We also caution students to be aware that alternative loans are credit-based, often carry variable interest rates, and cannot be consolidated with federal loans.