Alternative Loans (non-federal)
Furman students and parents often wish to or need to borrow non-federal educational loans, called alternative or private loans, to help with college expenses. Numerous lending institutions offer educational loans, which may be combined with federal loans up to the cost of attendance.
· If you must borrow, we advise students and parents to fully utilize federal educational loans and the monthly payment plan before borrowing under the private or alternative educational loan programs.
· Be very careful about responding to any unsolicited loan material/information you receive in the mail or via email. Colleges and universities can be one of your best resources for information on alternative loans, so please contact us before responding to "Direct-to-Consumer" marketing materials from lenders.
· All private educational loans that are not certified by Furman must be reported to our office so that we may account for that funding in the financial aid package. This is per U.S. Department of Education guidance. Remember that you may choose any alternative loan lender you wish. Please research each product fully. If you have any questions or have any problems, please contact us.
Private Loan Regulations (Title X of the Higher Education Opportunity Act)
As of February 14, 2010, both private lenders and institutions offering private loans to students must comply with a new set of regulations per the Federal Reserve Board. Under the new laws, a lender offering private loans for postsecondary educational expenses must first provide a disclosure about loan terms and features at the time of application and must disclose information about federal student loan programs that may offer less costly alternatives. If the initial application reaches an approval status, a second loan disclosure statement must be provided to the student at that time. If a student accepts the loan terms provided in the second disclosure statement, a third final disclosure must be provided when the loan is consummated. An additional piece of the new private loan regulations requires an applicant to complete a “self- certification form” and return it to the lender before they may disburse the loan to the school. The “self- certification form” may be found on the lender’s website or you may complete the hard copy found here and return it to your lender. If you need assistance completing the form, please contact the Office of Financial Aid. Each private lender may have a slightly different application process, so it is best to contact your private loan lender directly if you have any questions. Lastly, a lender must provide the student with a 3 day rescission or “right-to-cancel” period after the final loan disclosure form is sent to the student. The 3 day rescission period means that once the school has certified your loan and it is ready to be disbursed, there is a mandatory 3 business day waiting period before the lender may disburse loan funds to the school. If a lender only offers a mailed Final Disclosure (not online), then they must wait 6 days to disburse the loan to the school (3 days for mail time and an additional 3 day “rescission or “right-to-cancel” period). Below is an example of what to expect if you apply for a private loan:
· Apply online (you will receive the Application Disclosure Statement)
· Complete the Self Certification Form and return to your lender
· If approved for the loan, you will be provided an Approval Disclosure Statement
· Finally, you will receive a Final Disclosure Statement (allowing you up to 3 days to cancel the loan before it is disbursed to the school)
What are Private Student Loans?
Private student loans are credit-based loans applied for through individual banks that help students “bridge the gap” between the financial aid they have been awarded and any additional amount they feel may be needed to help achieve their educational goals. Being approved for a Private Student Loan depends largely on the credit score of the borrower (and co-signer). With the continuation of tightened credit markets, the largely held belief is that the majority of students applying for Private Student Loans will need co-signers on the application in order to get approved. While rates and repayment terms on Private Student Loans typically aren’t as solid as those offered on the various federal students loans, using Private Student Loans are often a wiser financial decision to “bridge the gap” than using credit cards or home equity lines of credit. However, it is ultimately the responsibility and choice of the borrower (and co-signer) to make the best personal financial decision.
Who Should Consider Private Student Loans?
Private student loans may be an important source of funding for students who are in one of three situations, either 1) ineligible for federal student loans, 2) in need of loan funding beyond that which federal programs permit during the year, or 3) owe a balance to Furman University which occurred in a prior academic year (prior to July 1, 2010). In the case of the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year, a prior year balance would be any balance on a student’s bursar account that was incurred prior to July 1, 2012. As of July 1, 2008, federal legislation forbids an institution from using financial aid funds from a current academic year to pay a prior year balance in excess of $200. If you fall into this category and are unable to pay the prior year balance out of pocket, then you will need to consider applying for a private student loan to cover the prior year balance.
Do I need a co-signer to apply for a Private Student Loan?
While there is no requirement to apply with a creditworthy co-signer, doing so often increases both your chances of being approved for a Private Student Loan and potentially lowers front-end fees and interest rates. Most lenders require student borrowers themselves to have an excellent credit history among other criteria, so it is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable and willing co-signer assist you in applying for a Private Student Loan in most cases. Understanding that co-signers don’t want to feel financially responsible throughout the life of the loan (in the event the actual borrower defaults), many lenders now offer “co-signer release” options after a certain number of on-time payments have been made, once the borrower passes a credit check at that time.
How do I process a Private Student Loan application?
1. Make sure you have completed the FAFSA and accepted your annual maximum amount in federal student subsidized and/or unsubsidized loans, and exhausted all other financing options first.
2. Consider applying with a willing, creditworthy co-signer, as doing so will likely increase your chances of approval and potentially lower your interest rate.
3. Carefully review the Furman University Historical Private Lender List to compare loan products, and apply for the product that best suits your eligibility and needs.
4. The lender with whom the student and/or co-signer apply will conduct a pre-approval credit investigation and notify the applicant(s) as to approval or denial. If approved by a lender for a Private Student Loan, the student and co-signer will need to review the Master Promissory Note (MPN) for accuracy, sign, and return to the lender. However, most lenders offer an e-sign option online.
5. Complete the Self Certification Form.
6. Loan proceeds will be sent directly to Furman. The proceeds will be applied to the student account to clear any balances, and remaining funds will be direct deposited upon completion of a refund request.
You have the right to select any lender you wish for an alternative loan. Many lenders offer attractive terms and conditions which you can find by searching the internet. Your lender should provide you with a copy of the required Private Education Loan Self-Certification Form. If you do not receive one from your lender, you can download a standard Self Certification Form. If you download the form here, we recommend that you contact your lender for your application ID or other identifier that will help the lender match the form with your application. Remember to send your completed self-certification form to your lender. Your loan cannot be disbursed until your lender receives it. The lenders listed below (in no particular order) have provided private loans to FURMAN students in the past three years. We recommend you review the terms and conditions of several lenders before applying.
Lending Institutions (Click on logo for link to website): Disclosure Statement
Wells Fargo Disclosure Statement
Sallie Mae Disclosure Statement
PNC Disclosure Statement
Discover Disclosure Statement
SC Student Loan Disclosure Statement
Sun Trust Disclosure Statement