Is an Alternative Loan the Next Step?

So you’ve received your Financial Aid award package, but you still have additional costs. Deciding whether to apply and take an Alternative Loan is a huge decision. But if that is your only choice, there are some things you should know before applying.

1. Do research- find out who offers alternative loans. Check out reviews from other who have taken loans with these lenders. Talk to your Financial Aid Counselor to see if they have any advice.

2. Ask Questions- What is the average interest rate students get? Does the lender offer Forbearance options? Forbearance is when the lender allows the borrower a certain time period where, when the student is required to make payments, doesn’t make those payments. This is usually granted if the student has a financial hardship. What are the lenders Deferment options? Will I be required to make payments on the loan while I am in school full-time? How long does the application process take?

3. You will need a credit worthy cosigner- 99% of Alternative loans will required someone to co-sign the loan with you since most students don’t have credit or have very little credit built. This person doesn’t need to be a parent. It can be anyone that understands what co-signing a loan means; if you default on repayment, they will be responsible to make the payment and it could affect their credit.

4. Is additional information needed in the application process- some lenders require additional documents from both the student and the co-signer. You’ll want to know up front if that is something you’ll need to provide them with.

5. Choose the best lender for you- each lender offers different things, so make sure you are choosing the right lender for you.

Once you have applied and been approved for the loan, the lender will send the university information so that they can certify and post to your student account. The over all process take 4-6 weeks. Once the loan has been posted to your account, allow up to two weeks for those funds to reach the university.

How FERPA Can Affect College Students And Their Parents

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This federal law was designed to protect the privacy of educational records and to establish rights of students to inspect and review their educational records.


Essentially, this means student academic information including: grades or academic standing (GPA, transcript/warning), registration and classes or financial aid status will not be provided to anyone other than the student. Once a student turns 18, or attends school beyond secondary school, the rights of access to the student’s records transfer to the student. Parents are not able to access their student’s account without a release on file, therefore, we highly recommend students who would like to grant their parent or guardian access, complete the UMBC Authorization to Disclose Information form on-line.
Although many college parents may not agree entirely with this FERPA regulation, we ask that you remember that it is in place for security, as well as a way to increase the independence and responsibility of the student. Communication is key between parents and students to ensure their college experience is a positive one.


Student Employee Spotlight


Name: Rashanique (Shay) Reese

Major: Environmental Science

Interesting Fact about yourself: I used to play football.

Are you involved on-campus: Outside of work, No.

What do you like about working at the Financial Aid Office: I like being able to advise people about financing college.

What advice would you offer to students about financial aid/the office: I would advise students to not be afraid to contact our office. To many students go months without contacting our office and that may hinder them. It is better to be informed.


New! Student Aid History on


Interested in reviewing how much you received in federal grants and loans? The Department of Education now offers a new feature on their website called My Student Aid to allow you to do exactly that! When logged into My Student Aid, you will be able to find information on your loans (excluding private loans), your loan servicer, and your federal Pell Grant eligibility. You may also download a summary of that information for your reference. To log into My Student Aid, please visit: and click on the Log In button in the upper right hand corner. As always if you have any questions regarding financial aid, feel free to contact our office.

How to Manage Your Student Loans

It’s that time…

… Time to start looking at those Loans you took out while attending college. Time to consider your repayment.

Student Employee Spotlight



Name: Oluwafunmisho (Funsho) Fashina

Major: Sociology

Interesting Fact about yourself: I love Jesus!! ( And I skipped a grade in middle school).

Are you involved on-campus: I am involved with the Salvation and Praise Campus Ministry, I do social science/psychology research in the SODHI Lab, and I am a Relationship Violence Advocate through the Women’s Center.

What do you like about working at the Financial Aid Office: I love the atmosphere in the office! I also love just being able to help students and parents with questions they have regarding their aid.

What advice would you offer to students about financial aid/the office: If you have alerts to do for your financial aid (like documents or information that needs to be submitted) get them done ASAP so that you don’t lose the aid you would otherwise be eligible for!