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Private Alternative Education Loans Overview

Private educational loan programs are non-federal loans issued by banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions. These programs allow students to borrow up to the full cost of attendance* minus other forms of financial aid. Private educational loans carry variable interest rates based on the LIBOR rate or the Prime rate and repayment periods may range from 5 to 25 years. Interest rates, origination fees, loan maximums, and repayment terms should be carefully considered when researching and choosing a private loan.

Before obtaining an alternative loan, graduate students should compare the terms of the loan with loan assistance available through the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program. Most private loan programs are not competitive with the Federal Direct Loan Program and are intended to provide supplemental educational financing.

*A student's cost of attendance includes actual tuition and fees and standard allowances for books, supplies, and living expenses.


Loyola University Maryland does not maintain a preferred lender list for private alternative education loans, nor are we able to recommend specific lenders. However, over the last several years, our students have used the lenders listed in ELM Select to meet their education loan borrowing needs. Using ELM Select, a service provided by ELM Resources, students can compare and contrast the terms and conditions of each loan option and select a private educational loan that best suits their financial circumstances. Students are not limited to the lenders appearing on the ELM Select list and may choose any lender that best suits their educational borrowing needs.

The Project on Student Debt, an initiative of the Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit independent research and policy organization, offers sound advice and information to consider when applying for a private alternative educational loan.

Code of Conduct

Loyola University Maryland follows a code of conduct that prohibits conflicts of interest for financial aid personnel.


Once an application is approved by a lender, the school will receive an electronic certification request. The proceeds of private alternative education loans may not be credited to a student's account until the funds are actually received by the University. Therefore, if the loan proceeds will be used to pay a remaining balance due, the loan application process should be completed well in advance of the bill payment due date.

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau

In the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Congress established an Ombudsman for private student loans within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to assist borrowers with private student loan complaints. This means a single federal agency is now responsible for watching out for all students and families who choose to borrow private student loans. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau website has a student portal that contains repayment advice, a comment area, and a student can file a complaint online.