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Alternative loans, also commonly referred to as private loans, are commercial loans offered by banks, credit unions, and other private lenders to assist in covering the costs of college beyond what financial aid has been provided.

How they differ from federal loans:

  • These loans are not entitlement loans. Meaning both the student and co-signer will be subject to a credit check.
  • Interest rates on Alternative/private loans may be fixed or variable, higher or lower than the federal rate.
    • There are several places to find the current rates for Prime, T-bill, LIBOR and the other instruments that lenders use to set their interest rates, but we suggest you bookmark bankrate.com.When you visit, there will be many indexes listed. The three main indexes for private loans are: Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Prime, 91Day T-bill, and the one-month LIBOR plus a certain percent.
  • There are no interest rate caps on these loans. While alternative/private loans typically defer payments while students are in school and offer a grace period similar to federal loans, some may require payment while the student is still attending school. Read and understand the loan conditions and terms prior to signing the promissory note.
  • The funds students borrow from alternative or private lenders are not eligible for federal repayment or forgiveness programs.
  • The application process can be quite lengthy. Students are encouraged to apply 4-6 weeks in advance of when the funds are needed.

Self Certification Form

As part of the alternative loan application process, students need to complete a Self-Certification form. This form must be completed for loans to be approved. All Self-Certification forms should be sent to the specific lender and not the Office of Financial Aid. The Self-Certification form requires students to report the cost of attendance and estimated financial assistance. This information can be found on your award letter or you may contact the Office of Financial Aid at 802-485-2850 to obtain this information. Most lenders will provide a form to collect the specific information they are looking for.

Download the Self Certification form (PDF). This form is also available at the Office of Financial Aid.

Active Acceptance of the Loan

Upon approval of an alternative loan, student will be required to "actively accept" the terms of the loan before the lender will notify the school . The terms of the loan will be provided in a Loan Approval Disclosure. Lender's will provide instructions of how to "accept" the loan terms, which can be found on the approval disclosure form. This form should be returned to the lender as soon as possible.

Lenders Used in Previous Years

Norwich University is committed to providing students with the best possible information in order to assist in the selection of a lender. These lenders have provided loans to Norwich students in previous years. Students are not limited to one of these lenders. If a student wishes to choose an alternative loan with any other lender, Financial Aid will process the loan. Norwich University does not receive any monetary or other incentives for having these lenders provided here. The lenders that are provided met the following criteria at the time the list was created:

  • The lender offers benefits to students in the form of fee reductions, interest rate reductions, or other benefits.
  • The lender has demonstrated over time that they provide excellent customer service to students.
  • The lender participates in electronic processing as well as paper processing, making it easy for the student to apply for and receive their loan funds.

If it is decided that an alternative loan is the right choice, Financial Aid encourages students and families to explore each of the loan programs to determine which one best suits each individual's needs.

Lender Website Phone
Citizens Bank http://www.citizensbank.com/student-loans 1.800.708.6684
Discover Student Loans www.discoverstudentloans.com/college 1.877.728.3030
Sallie Mae www.salliemae.com/norwich 1.888.272.5543
Vermont Student Assistance (VSAC) www.vsac.org 1.800.798.8722
SoFi www.sofi.com/private-student-loans/ 1.855.456.7634

Alternative Loan Comparison Tool

Norwich University is providing a tool called FAST Choice Solutions if assistance is needed in selecting a lender for an alternative loan. This tool is provided by Great Lakes Higher Education Assistance Corporation (GLHEAC) to assist NU students in selecting a lender and provide the ability to compare the benefits and terms of each loan program to assist students in making the best choice.

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