Private or alternative loans are designed to help students who need additional assistance with educational costs. In most cases, it is advantageous for students to pursue Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans and for parents to pursue Federal PLUS Loans (or Grad PLUS Loans for graduate students) before seeking private loans. A major advantage of these federal programs is that the federal government caps the interest on the loans. Additionally, alternative loans typically do not offer the same benefits as federal loans, such as consolidation, service cancellations and military repayment.
If assistance beyond what is available through the federal loan programs is desired, there are a number of private lenders who offer alternative loans to cover educational expenses. Loan approval is generally based on creditworthiness and ability to repay – for students, a credit-worthy, employed co-signer might be required (and is strongly encouraged). Each lender offers different rates, fees, repayment terms and approval requirements. To get the best rates and terms, it is strongly suggested that you obtain a co-signer with a good credit rating.
From 2009-10 through the 2013-14 academic years, Clemson University students used the following private loan programs: (selecting the names will take you the lenders' web sites)
CommStar-Community Star Credit Union
Day Air Credit Union
DEXSTA Federal Credit Union
Digital Federal Credit Union
Discover Student Loans
First Presbyterian Church USA, Norfolk, VA
Lake Trust Credit Union
Maine Educational Loan Authority (MELA)
Massachusetts Education Financing Authority (MEFA)
Members 1st Credit Union
Mid-Houston Valley Federal Credit Union
NASA Federal Credit Union
New Jersey Class Loan
NMTW Community Credit Union
These lenders are not recommendations by Clemson University, merely a listing of lenders our students have used. You are not obligated to use them. Please note that the credit check performed by many lenders expires after 90 to 120 days. Therefore, you should not apply for an private loan more than three months prior to the start of the loan period. However, because of processing time, you should apply as soon as possible within the three month window.
In order for funds to be available for payment purposes, it is recommended that applications be submitted by:
Most private loan disbursements are made via Electronic Funds Transfer from your lender to Clemson University. These funds are applied to the student's account with any excess – after all University fees are satisfied – being released to the student.
You are encouraged to only borrow needed funds. If the loan approval is more than you desire, you can reduce the amount by calling the Financial Aid Office at 864-656-2280, e-mailing the Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or following the directions provided by the lender on the disclosure statement you receive.
We strongly encourage students who have borrowed through the private loan program at other institutions prior to attending Clemson to retain their previous lenders. This will avoid making multiple loan repayments in the future.