Alternative Loans

Alternative Loans

Who should borrow an Alternative Loan?

Alternative loans are not for everyone. You should only seek to borrow an Alternative Loan after other types of financial aid have been exhausted. Since Alternative loans have higher interest rates and fees, they can become expensive over time.


For example, a dependent freshmen is only allowed to borrow $5,500 in Federal Stafford loans. If the student does not qualify for enough aid to meet the rest of higher educational expenses, and a Parent Loan is not an option, then an Alternative Loan might be recommended to the student.

Who is eligible for an Alternative Loan?

Eligibility requirements vary from lender to lender. Most Alternative loans require a co-signer for the loan if your credit history and annual income do not meet the lender's standards. In addition, you may be required to meet citizenship requirements or provide a co-signer who meets citizenship requirements. You must be admitted and enrolled in at least half time in a degree seeking program. Other eligibility requirements may apply depending on the lender. You are urged to choose a lender after researching the lenders terms and requirements.

How do you apply for an Alternative Loan?

  1. There are a number of lenders who provide alternative loans.  The University has developed a system-wide common lender list based solely on factors related to the borrower's best interest: financial terms of the loan, loan features and the quality of service.  The UC Lender List provides you with our recommended options.  Please review the lender list from below:
  2. After you have applied for an alternative loan with the lender of your choice, notify us via email at or in writing to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (make sure you list academic year loan is for, lender's name, lender ID and amount you applied for).

More Information

UC Merced is not involved in the Alternative Loan credit decision. All credit decision questions should be directed to the loan lender. Financial aid eligibility applies to all certifications of loan amounts. All borrowers must complete a self-certification form prior to receiving a private student loan with lender(provided upon request to loan applicant.