Apply for an Alternative Loan

Alternative Loans

Alternative (private) loans are administered and processed by private lending institutions to be used for educational costs after first exhausting potentially more favorable federal and state financial aid options. Visit ELM Select to search for an alternative loan product.

TIP: Use Federal Student Aid Options First

We highly recommend that you apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before you apply for an alternative loan. Loans from the Federal Direct Loan Program are awarded based on FAFSA information. Federal Direct Loans may offer more benefits than alternative loans, including lower interest rates and more repayment options.

Questions to ask when choosing a lender:

  • Is the interest rate variable or fixed? A variable interest rate can change, but a fixed interest rate will stay the same as long as you have the loan.
  • Is the interest capitalized? If it is, the amount of money you ultimately owe increases
  • Is there an origination fee? Origination fees are charged by some lenders to cover their cost to process your loan.
  • Are there fees for paying off the loan early?
  • Are there any borrower benefits? For example, some lenders may offer a discount on your interest rate if you sign up for automatic monthly payments.
  • When do you need to start repaying the loan? Some lenders require you to pay while you are in school. Others will defer payments until after graduation.
  • Is a co-signer required? Many students have no credit yet, and they need a co-signer on their loan.
  • Are there other eligibility requirements? For example, some loans require that you meet Satisfactory Academic Progress or be enrolled full-time.

Application Process

Due to Federal Lending Laws, student loan lenders are required to provide multiple disclosures to the borrower and to collect a Self-Certification Form from the borrower. The lender also requests eligibility certification from Arkansas Baptist College. This process usually takes approximately 2-3 weeks to complete, so plan ahead.

Application Steps

  1. Search for a lender through ELMSelect then ‘apply online’ through the lender’s web site.
  2. You will receive an ‘Application Disclosure Statement’ from the lender. Please read it and ask questions if you aren’t sure what it means.
  3. Submit the ‘Self-Certification Form’ to your lender. You may obtain a Self-Certification Form by contacting the lender.
  4. If approved for the loan, you will be provided an ‘Approval Disclosure Statement’ from your lender.
  5. Your lender will contact The Office of Financial Aid for certification that you meet certain requirements of the loan. It can take us 3-5 business days to certify your loan.
  6. After The Office of Financial Aid certifies your loan, you will receive a ‘Final Disclosure Statement’, and are allowed up to 3 days to cancel the loan before it disburses.
  7. Disbursement of alternative loan funds typically takes place ten (10) business days after The Office of Financial Aid certifies the loan.

Loan Terms

Your loan application will ask you to report your loan term. The loan term can be a single semester or the academic year. Please use these general loan term dates when completing an application. However, your loan will be processed using specific enrollment dates for your program. If the lender has released the funds to Arkansas Baptist College, loans can be disbursed up to ten (10) days prior to the start of classes.
These are the current loan terms available for 2018 – 2019:

Term Start Date End Date
Fall 2018 08/02/2018 11/21/2018
Spring 2019 01/07/2019 05/04/2019
Summer I 2019 06/03/2019 07/02/2019
Summer II 2019 07/01/2019 08/05/2019

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