Private/Alternative Educational Loans

Private Education Loans are non-federal loans made by private lenders. Visit ELMSelect to view a list of UConn’s suggested lenders.

Information about Eligibility

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not required for private loans.
  • Before applying for a private loan, we suggest first exhausting all federal student loan borrowing options.  For more information, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.
  • Lender requirements including credit approval, interest rates, repayment options, etc. vary, and are determined by each lender.
  • Some lenders do not require students to be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). More information about SAP is available SAP page.
  • Students have the right to borrow from any lender who participates in the program under which they are eligible to borrow.
  • Processing times vary from lender to lender. To ensure loans are processed in time to meet the published university fee bill deadline, loan applications should be started as early as May.

Comparison Between Federal Student Loans and Private/Alternative Loans

If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest.

If you decide to take out a loan, make sure you understand who is making the loan and the terms and conditions of the loan. Student loans can come from the federal government, from private sources such as a bank or financial institution, or from other organizations. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually have more benefits than loans from banks or other private sources.

Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans.

If you pursue a private student loan, lenders are required to obtain a self-certification signed by the applicant prior to paying (otherwise known as disbursing) the loan to your account.  Lenders typically include this form as part of the application process.  Should you need a copy of this form, it may be found here:

Receiving Your Aid

Students meeting the eligibility requirements determined by their lender, in addition to meeting other eligibility requirements described on the Eligibility page, will have their private loan funds disbursed as soon as the lender provides the school with the approved funds. The timeliness of these disbursements may be impacted by the lenders required right to cancel period, which varies from lender to lender.

Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions provided by their lender of choice.

Lender Selection Policy

The University of Connecticut maintains a list of suggested private/alternative education lenders that we believe offer competitive interest rates, efficient private/alternative education loan processing, and inclusive borrower criteria. Students may choose one of our suggested private/alternative education lenders or any other private/alternative education lender who participates in the private/alternative education loan program from which they are eligible to borrow.

Our suggested private/alternative education lenders for fall 2024 through summer 2027 were selected via a competitive Request for Information (RFI). This RFI was sent to numerous private/alternative education lenders, advertised on the Connecticut and National financial aid association listservs, and posted publicly on the University’s website. Any private/alternative education lender participating in one or more private/alternative education loan programs was eligible to submit a proposal.

Each private/alternative education loan program was reviewed independently and without regard to proposals submitted for other private/alternative education loan programs. We selected private/alternative education lenders for our suggested private/alternative education lender lists based on a point awarded system, committee members evaluation and committee discussion. Our suggested private/alternative education lender lists are reviewed annually. Our goal was to find private/alternative education lenders that offer the best possible benefits, both financial and service-based, for our borrowers.

We advise borrowers to be educated consumers and compare the products offered by private/alternative education lenders on our Suggested Lender List with those offered by other private/alternative education lenders.

The factors considered follow, in order of importance. Factors at the top of the list were weighed more heavily than factors at the bottom of the list. We considered: interest rates, ease of private/alternative education loan processing for the borrower, ease of private/alternative education loan processing for the school and compatibility with our computer software, customer service for the school (i.e. assistance in resolving private/alternative education loan delivery issues), flexibility of the private/alternative education loan program to meet the needs of various student eligibility criteria, and web-based services for borrowers.

The complete text of the Financial Aid Code of Conduct can be accessed at