Alternative Educational Loans are private loans (non-federal) offered through banks and other financial institutions to supplement financial aid offers.
Carefully review all financing options prior to considering this type of loan.
If you qualify for federal loan(s), be sure to review these loan options first (Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS/Graduate PLUS loans). Some of the benefits of borrowing federal student loans may not be available from private lenders.
You may borrow through any lender of your choosing as RIT does not maintain a preferred lender list. RIT is committed to providing students with the best possible information to assist in the selection of a lender as we understand finding a lender may seem overwhelming.
Loan Comparison Tool
In addition to your own individual search, FastChoice is a loan comparison tool that will help you compare lenders who have provided the most loans to RIT students in the last three aid years. Use the filter feature in this loan comparison tool to find lenders you may qualify for.
RIT is prohibited from accepting any financial or other benefits in exchange for displaying lenders and loan options in FastChoice and the lenders presented in FastChoice are not recommended by RIT. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will work with any lender a student chooses.
When to Apply
2023 - 2024 Loan Periods
5/18/23 - 8/15/23
Summer and Fall
5/18/23 - 12/20/23
Summer, Fall, and Spring
5/18/23 - 5/08/24
Fall and Spring
8/28/23 - 5/08/24
8/28/23 - 12/20/23
1/16/24 - 5/08/24
Tip: it is recommended to request a loan for the entire academic year while attending classes rather than per semester to avoid potential delays with a new loan application and multiple checks of your credit report.
Home Country Funding for International Students
In addition to using the FastChoice loan comparison tool, international students seeking an alternative education loan should investigate loan options in their home country. Start by researching lenders based in your region or home country who offer alternative educational loans. External websites that you may find useful include the EduPass and International Education Financial Aid (IEFA).
Seven Considerations When Choosing a Lender
It is highly recommended to take the time to research all alternative loan options and determine which one will best meet your needs. Please consider the following components when reviewing alternative loan options:
Determined by the terms of the individual loan, taking into consideration the credit worthiness of the applicant and co-signor. Individual lenders may offer incentives during repayment reflecting such things as on-time payments.
Online Application / Processing Time
Consider the average length of time required for processing in relation to when loan funds are needed. Many lenders suggest using Google Chrome for an optimal on-line application experience.
Borrower Benefits and Discounts
Lenders may offer interest reductions based on signing up for EFT and/or on-time payments. Benefits and discounts vary based on lender.
The application process may be electronic, paper, or a combination of both.
Recession Period or Right to Cancel
The period of time after loan approval and certification by RIT when the borrower or co-borrower may cancel the loan without penalty, typically ranging from 3-10 business days. Funds will be disbursed at the conclusion of the rescission period or on the scheduled disbursement date as determined solely by the lender (usually 10 calendar days prior to the start of the loan period) whichever is later.
Grace Periods, Consolidations Options and Repayment Terms
The grace period is a set period of time after students graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before they must begin repayment on their loan. To determine the length of your grace period, check the promissory note or contact the loan servicer. Consolidating loans allows students to consolidate multiple loans into one single debt. This may result in reduced monthly repayments and a longer term for the loan. Students should research these option to see if they might better meet their needs. Not all lenders offer consolidation, but often times students do not need to have a current loan with a lender offering consolidation to qualify. Alternative educational loans may offer a variety of repayment options as well as consolidation. Students should contact their individual lenders for more details.
Important considerations include: availability of toll free or 24/7 customer service, on-line application process, efficiency of problem resolution.
If you have questions at any point in the process, we’re here to help.
For general questions about the financial aid process, we recommend our live chat.
For general questions about your specific situation, we recommend that you email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For detailed questions about your specific situation, we recommend that you call 585-475-2186.
Contacting our office by phone or email allows us to answer specific questions related to a student as long as we are able to affirm the student and the individual requesting information to protect privacy and confidentiality. Live chat is reserved only for general non-student specific information.
Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Bausch and Lomb Center
56 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY 14623-5604