Private Alternative Educational Loans are student loans offered through agencies other than the federal government. Before getting this type of loan, we first encourage you to submit a FAFSA for the current academic year to learn if you qualify for government grants and other types of financial aid. We also recommend borrowing from the Federal Direct Loan program before considering a private alternative loan.
Private loans are largely based on the creditworthiness of the borrower and/or co-signer, if applicable. The student is responsible for selecting a lender, and we encourage you to complete a web-based search for private loans and investigate all funding options and lender differences prior to applying. More information about private loans can be found here.
Please discuss all of your options with the Financial Aid Office before applying for a private loan.
A list of SMC-suggested lenders can be found here.* If you wish to use a lender that is not on this list, you have the right to do so. SMC will process a loan application from any lender.
*After clicking the link, type "Southwestern Michigan College," then select "Undergraduate" from the drop down menu.
Before you apply for or accept a private loan, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- How much do I actually need to borrow for my education?
- What is the interest rate, and is it fixed or variable?
- Are there application, processing and/or disbursement fees?
- How long do I have to repay the loan?
- When does repayment begin?
- How long has the lender been in business?
- What borrower benefits are offered and are those subject to change?
- What options are available for consolidation?