Alternative Loans

Alternative Loans are private educational loans that are available to students in need of additional assistance after all other types of funding have been exhausted. You, the student, will be the borrower of the Alternative Loan; however, you may need a credit-worthy individual to act as a co-signer.

How much am I eligible to borrow?
Although some lenders limit the amount that you may borrow annually, the general rule of thumb is that you may borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid you may be receiving. For example, the cost of attendance is $20,000 and you are receiving $8,000 in other aid, you could borrow up to $12,000, as long as your lender approves you for that amount. We recommend that you be a savvy borrower and borrow only what you need to cover your education-related expenses. This is a loan that must be repaid with interest, after all!

When does repayment begin?
Repayment terms and conditions also vary from lender to lender. Some lenders offer delayed repayment options, while others require interest only or principal and interest payments while the student is enrolled in school. Please be advised that the interest on delayed repayment options begins to accrue immediately, so you should try to make payments on your Alternative Loan if possible.

How do I choose a lender?
You are able to apply for a loan through any lender that offers alternative loans. When choosing a lender, you should do your homework and choose a lender that best suits your needs as a borrower. You may find FAST CHOICE to be a useful tool in helping you make your decision.  FAST CHOICE offers loan comparisons, loan counseling and debt management resources, and borrowing options to fit your individual need.  Neither the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown nor the Financial Aid Office endorse, promote, or recommend lenders or any loan products. Please note that Federal Credit Unions generally require membership to be eligible for their loan product.

How do I apply for an Alternative Loan?

We anticipate approximately four to six weeks for complete loan processing. To ensure the timely delivery of your alternative loan, please apply early and respond quickly to any requests from your lender. The application process is outlined below.

1. Complete and submit an alternative loan application to the lender of your choice. Ensure all necessary information is included, such as co-signer information, proof of income, etc.

  • When you complete the application you are also signing the Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  • The lender will send an Application Disclosure Statement giving you general information about the loan terms.

2. The lender will perform a credit check and determine your eligibility. If all necessary paperwork is complete and the borrower and co-signer meet the credit requirement, the lender approves the loan; if not, the lender may request additional information from the borrower or co-signer.

  • If credit-approved, you must submit a completed Self-Certification Form to the lender before school certification will be requested. The Self-Certification form requires you to provide your estimated cost of attendance (COA) which may be obtained via the Financial Aid Fact Sheet or by calling the Financial Aid Office at 814-269-7045.
  • If credit-approved, you will also receive an Approval Disclosure Statement with the terms and agreements specific to your loan. Upon receiving the Approval disclosure, you and your co-signer, if applicable, must accept the loan within 30 calendar days. Federal regulations require that the borrower and co-signer actively accept the loan at this time. Each lender will determine the means as to how you and your co-signer will actively accept the loan.
  • Failure to actively accept the loan within 30 days will stop the loan process.

3. After the borrower actively accepts the loan, the lender notifies Pitt-Johnstown's Financial Aid Office to complete school certification.

  • Certification by the school can take approximately three weeks depending on the time of year.
  • The school provides the certification to the lender electronically.

4. After school certification is completed, the lender sends the Final Disclosure Statement to you.

  • Once the lender presents the Final Disclosure Statement to you and your co-signer, if applicable, the disbursement is locked and no changes can be made to the loan; however, the loan may be cancelled upon your request.
  • You or your co-signer, if applicable, have a three day period to cancel the loan. Please note that many lenders allow for a three day mailing period, giving you a total of six days to cancel the loan from the date printed on the Final Disclosure Statement.

5. The lender disburses the loan to Pitt-Johnstown after the Final Disclosure cancellation period has expired.

  • Watch for the loan to disburse to your Pitt-Johnstown account.