Alternative student loans, also called private student loans, are credit-based consumer loans that can be used for any education-related purpose, including books, tuition, room, board, lab fees, and transportation. In general, private student loans cover the total cost of education minus any financial aid you've received. They require no collateral, and they offer many of the same benefits as federal student loans.
Private student loans should be used only after you have used all available federal Stafford and/or Perkins loans. Private student loans will typically have a higher interest rate and do not offer the types of flexible repayment plays, such as Income Based Repayment, that are available through federal student loans.
The attached chart compares and contrasts the advantages/disadvantages of taking a Parent PLUS loan versus an alternative private student loan - PLUS vs Private Loan Chart.
When applying for a private student loan, you will be asked for your Cost of Attendance (COA). The Cost of Attendance includes both indirect costs as well as direct costs. Indirect costs include expenses for travel, books, and other personal expenses above the direct cost for tuition, room, meal plan, etc... By accounting for indirect costs, the Cost of Attendance number allows students to apply for a private loan in excess of their actual OC charges so that students can receive extra money to pay for other related college expenses.
For full-time students living on campus, the 2013-2014 Cost of Attendance that should be entered when applying for an alternative student loan is $29,826. For full-time students living off campus with parents, the Cost of Attendance is $26,800. Entering the correct Cost of Attendance number will allow students to apply for the maximum amount of student loans. However, students are encouraged to only apply for the minimum amount of student loans needed to cover their college expenses.
If you are not a full-time student, only attending for one semester, or have additional tuition cost above the standard full-time rate, please contact your Personal Financial Counselor (PFC) to receive your COA.
OC highly recommends students use a cosigner when applying for a private student loan. In almost all cases, cosigners will increase the likelihood of the loan being approved and will help reduce the interest rate of the loan. Interest rates are determined by the student's and cosigner's credit history. Please visit CoSigner to learn more about the criteria of a good cosigner and the benefits of having a cosigner.
To complete an Alternative Student Loan application, simply visit your chosen lenders website and begin the loan application process. Students may use any lender they wish. Oklahoma Christian's Student Financial Services Office will be notified once your loan is approved or denied.
It is recommended that students apply for multiple private student loans. In general, student loan shopping inquiries made during a focused time period (for example 30 days) will have little to no impact on your FICO credit score. For more information, visit MyFICO.com.
Oklahoma Christian has researched student loan providers and has provided a list of providers we believe will provide superior service and benefits. To view this list, please visit the following link: