Alternative Loans

Alternative loans are non-federal loans in which lenders provide student loans with variable terms for U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, and in some cases international students who have a credit-worthy, U.S. citizen cosigner. When pursuing a private loan, it is important to research your options and understand the terms you are offered from different lenders, as interest rates and repayment options can vary widely.

Before applying for a private student loan, students should review their Financial Aid Notification and consider their Federal Direct Loan options. Federal Direct Loans offer fixed interest rates and other flexibilities such as repayment plan options that may be beneficial to borrowers. If you decide to apply for a private student loan, see the steps below that you must take in order to apply. 

How to Apply

  • Research alternative loan lender options

  • Complete an alternative loan application with the lender that is best for you

  • Review the lender's required terms and disclosure information provided to you

  • Complete the Graduate Financial Aid Office's Alternative Loan Request Form

Most alternative loan funds are sent to the University via an electronic disbursement method and are first applied directly to your University bill. If your lender sends funds via paper check, the Office of the Bursar will contact you with directions.

The University of Chicago does not have a preferred-lender listing for private loans. We recognize that you have many choices when contemplating an alternative loan. You should choose a lender that best meets your needs and requirements in financing your graduate education. An online search for private student loans will yield a variety of private lender options for you to research and learn more about. If you have additional questions about graduate student loan options you can visit the Loans page or contact the Graduate Financial Aid Office.

Professional Education Students in a Certificate Program

Students in a certificate program should contact UCPE at (773)795-8273 for instructions.