Alternative education loans should only be considered after students and parents have explored federal loan options which often have lower interest rates. Students who have not applied for federal aid, including federal loan programs, may do so by completing the FAFSA online.
Alternative education loans are designed to assist students that have exhausted their federal aid options or are otherwise not eligible (i.e. non-degree seeking student in certificate or certification program) for federal aid.
ASU does not promote or endorse any alternative education loans lenders. If you feel that an alternative loan may be best for you, we recommend comparing loan products and lenders to find the best interest rate and repayment options for your situation.
ASU uses FastChoice as an online, lender-neutral platform to display a historically cumulative list of lenders and education loan products that our students have used. You are welcome to borrow funds from the private lender of your choice regardless of the their inclusion on this page. No matter who you choose, we highly recommend you compare and research your options ahead of time to find the best fit for you and your family. Along the way, we’ll be happy to answer any questions or provide information as much as we’re able.
Please note that lenders may require or strongly recommend a cosigner in order to approve a loan or provide the best interest rate possible. Some alternative education loans may also require payments while the student is still in-school.
Visit FastChoice to view Alternative Education Loan options.
You MUST complete the ‘Borrowing Essentials’ Loan Counseling.
Consider when choosing a Lender
- Interest Rate - It may be capitalized: therefore, increasing the amount of money you ultimately owe. Consider using a cosigner, which you may qualify for slightly lower rates.
- Fees - The interest rates and fees that you pay are based on the your credit score and the credit score of your cosigner if you choose to use one.
- Customer Service - Common customer service considerations include the availability of a fixed rate loan product, account information online, deferment options, and cosigner release options.
- Repayment Terms - Some lenders require you to pay while you are in school. Others will defer payments until after graduation.
- Eligibility Requirements - Check the requirements for the loan.
Determining How Much to Borrow
Use your award letter, your RamPort account, or the ASU Tuition and Cost Estimator to understand how much you might need to borrow. Borrow only what you need to cover what you cannot pay during the time you are in school. You should only request loan funds to cover your specific educational needs rather than the maximum allowed for the enrollment period. If you want help in determining the amount to borrow, contact an ASU Financial Aid counselor. Other items to consider regarding the private education loans:
- Plan for up to four weeks for private education loan processing
- You may apply for a loan to cover the entire academic year, unless you do not plan to attend the consecutive semesters, in which case, you will need to apply for each semester individually.
- Once ASU has processed your private education loan, only reductions or cancellations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Increases require a new loan application be submitted to the lender.
- Select the appropriate loan period dates.
College Access Loan (CAL)
The College Access Loan Program provides alternative educational loans to Texas students. Students do not have to demonstrate financial need. However, the amount of federal aid for which you are eligible (regardless of whether actually accepted) must be deducted from the cost of attendance in determining the CAL loan amount.
The CAL is awarded based on the requirements set by The Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the availability of funds. The CAL is awarded only to Texas residents. The CAL is a student initiated process. The application process includes the application, credit check, and self-certification.
Students may borrow up to the amount of their full cost of attendance minus all other financial aid they are eligible for, including amounts not yet accepted. (No less than $100.00)
- Be a Texas resident
- Be enrolled at least half-time in:
- a course of study leading to an associate’s, bachelor’s, graduate, or higher degree; or
- an approved alternative educator certification program;
- Meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements set by the institution.
- Receive a favorable credit evaluation or provide a cosigner who has good credit standing and meets other requirements (must have a minimum Experian Vantage Score of 650 to receive credit approval).
- The FAFSA and all supporting documents are required for the College Access Loan.
- be at least 21 years of age;
- have a regular source of income;
- not be the borrower or the spouse of the borrower;
- receive a favorable credit evaluation;
- be a U.S. citizen, or a permanent U.S. resident and reside in the U.S. or in a U.S. territory.
Interest Rate and Fees
Fixed 5.3% annual rate (effective May 14, 2018).
There is no origination fee.
- Loans have a six-month grace period from the date a borrower ceases to be continuously enrolled as at least a half-time student at an eligible institution.
- Principal balances under $30,000 have up to a ten-year repayment period with minimum monthly payments of $50
- Principle balances of $30,000 or more have a repayment period up to 20 years
- The loan will not be sold to another lender
- Postponements of loan repayment and income-sensitive or graduated repayment schedules are available.
Application and Disbursement Process
- Students may apply online. Once the THECB has received and approved all applications documents and credit is approved, ASU will be notified to certify loan eligibility.
- ASU will certify the loan up to the cost of education minus any other aid the student has been awarded, or for the approved loan amount.
- Once ASU certifies CAL eligibility, the THECB will send the student a Loan Approval Disclosure by mail. The student may electronically accept the terms for the disclosures.
- Loan funds will NOT be released to ASU by the THECB until the Loan Approval Disclosure has been accepted by the THECB.
- Loan funds are generally sent to ASU the later of the first day of class each semester or in 10-14 business days after the Loan Approval Disclosure has been accepted.
- CAL loan funds will be applied to the student’s billing account at ASU and will pay any account balance charges for the term. After account charges are paid, any refund will be sent to the student based on the refund process designated by ASU Student Accounts Office.
- To check the status of your CAL loan here. Log into your account to review the loan status.