Alternative/Private loans are often used to bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and the student’s financial aid award. Pitt Community College recommends that a student’s first step be to apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov. Alternative loans are recommended only as a last resort.
Steps to Apply for an Alternative Loan
- Visit Federal Student Aid. This will provide more information about the differences between federal Stafford/federal direct student loans and alternative loans.
- Complete the FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.gov. Our school code is 004062. Turn in all requested paperwork. Our office will process your file within 2 to 3 weeks of receiving all requested paperwork to determine eligibility for federal financial aid.
- Choose a bank or lender to apply for the private loan. You should research your choice thoroughly. PCC does not have a preferred lender list for alternative loans. We strongly suggest that you borrow federal loans because they offer better benefits and the interest rates are set by the federal government.
- Our office will certify the loan when we receive the certification request from your lender. Federal regulations will not allow us to certify your loan for more than the cost of attendance minus any financial aid received. We are not responsible for the timeliness of private loans and students should address all customer service issues with their lender. New federal regulations require that you complete the self certification for private loans. Your lender should provide you with this form. If you cannot get the form from your lender, you can download it at ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN1001A-AppSelfCert.pdf.
- For most private lenders, there is no minimum credit hour restriction nor do they require that the student be meeting satisfactory academic progress as determined by the school. Students should verify the restrictions with the lender. Be aware that most private loans require a good credit rating and may require a co-signer.