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Non-Federal Loans

Non-federal loans are often referred to as alternative loans because they represent an alternative to the Federal Student Loan Program.

The federal student and parent (PLUS) loan programs generally provide more favorable terms and conditions than non-federal loans. For that reason, we strongly recommend students and their families first apply for federal loans using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before considering non-federal loan programs. Non-federal loans may be helpful to students who need to borrow more than allowed under the federal loan programs and those students who are ineligible for federal loans. A very small percentage of students are ineligible for federal loans. The most common reason for ineligibility is failure to meet UNCW’s satisfactory academic progress policy.

When we last reviewed available alternative loan programs, there were more than 150 being offered. We have developed this information to help students and families understand non-federal loans and to assist you in selecting a lender should you determine an alternative loan would be advantageous to you.

Important points about non-federal loans:

  • Interest rates and fees can be variable and are not protected by Federal Student Loan regulations.
  • Some non-federal lenders require the student to meet UNCW’s satisfactory academic progress requirements.
  • Credit review often determines eligibility as well as interest rates and application fees.
  • Some non-federal loans require co-signers.
  • All require UNCW certification or approval.
  • Some require payments while the student is enrolled in school – federal loans generally do not.
  • Some do not provide cancellation for student death or disability. The co-signer remains responsible for repayment. Federal loans provide for cancellation in this situation.
  • None allow for cancellation due to service as a teacher – Federal student loans and Perkins Loans do. Perkins Loans also allow cancellation for other types of employment such as medical technology, nursing, etc. All federal loans allow deferment for continued enrollment in higher education, Peace Corp participation, activation of military reserves and other benefits. Most alternative loans do not offer these benefits.
  • All will affect your eligibility for other federal and state funds (students may not receive more aid than the total estimated costs to attend college during the enrollment period.)

See the lender information for rates, definitions and terms of the loan. Interest rates may adjust quarterly and loan fees and repayment provisions will likely vary.


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