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Private Alternative Loans


Private loans or Alternative Loans are educational loans offered by private lending institutions. They are not part of the federal or state student loan program and do not require a FAFSA. Be aware that private loans:

  • Have variable interest rates
  • Are NOT protected by federal student loan regulations
  • May be substantially higher than federal loan programs

These loans require you to be credit-worthy or have a credit-worthy cosigner. The lender will notify you of the interest rates and fees you qualify for after a credit review.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley does not recommend any specific lenders for private loans. You are free to select any lender offering private loans. We recommend you compare loans from several lenders to find the best interest rate/terms and repayment options. 


  • Eligibility for private loans is based on the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received.
  • Some lenders require half-time enrollment and/or that you meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards.
  • Visit the lender(s) website for additional eligibility requirements.

Comparing Lenders

If you would like to access a neutral and comprehensive comparison chart of all lenders used by UTRGV students within the last five years, please visit FASTChoice Solutions.

FASTChoice is a loan comparison tool that assists borrowers in deciding on a private loan that is best suited for their needs. We do not recommend, suggest, or endorse any lenders. You are not limited to the lenders listed in the chart and may borrow from any lender by directly visiting the website of that lender.

Applying for a Private Loan

Once you determine you are eligible for a private loan, apply, get approved by the lender based on credit, and complete all the required paperwork, the selected lender will send UTRGV a certification request. UTRGV will verify your eligibility and certify the request accordingly. UTRGV will not certify a loan for a student who does not meet our eligibility requirements (see above). If UTRGV certifies the loan, the funds will be sent to UTRGV. Please note that there is a four- to six-week processing time for private loans. 

State Options

If you are facing a gap between the cost of attending UTRGV and your total aid from nonloan sources and federal loans, your state may offer student loan options. If you live in Texas, consider these Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) loan programs:

Additional eligibility requirements may be found at


Funds are disbursed to students in two equal payments, one at the beginning of the loan period and the second one at midpoint. Funds are sent to the school in the form of checks made out to the student and UTRGV. Checks are set to arrive on census date which is the 12th class day of a Fall/Spring semester or 4th class day of a Summer Session.


Repayment of student alternative loans often begins six months after you graduate or fall below half-time enrollment (six credit hours). Interest starts at disbursement and may be repaid as it accrues or it may be added to the loan. You must contact your lender for specific information regarding repayment options on your loan program.

Steps for Applying for a Private loan

  1. Select a lender and apply online via the lender’s website. Students receive notification from the lender once the loan is approved or denied based on credit. IMPORTANT: Even if the loan gets approved by a lender based on credit, UTRGV will still need to certify the loan. UTRGV will not certify a loan for a student who does not meet eligibility requirements.
  2. Complete and Submit the Applicant Self-Certification Form. If the loan gets approved by the lender, the student must complete this form. Depending on the lender's process, this form may be provided to students online, via email or sent via regular mail.
  3. Read and Accept the Approval Disclosure. Depending on the lender’s process, students might view this online, via email or regular mail.
  4. School Certification. Once the lender receives all the required paperwork, they will request UTRGV’s certification. UTRGV will review the student’s application and process the request within five to seven business days based on the criteria listed above, under Eligibility. UTRGV will process the request by either certifying the loan or denying the request.
  5. Receive a Final Disclosure. If the loan gets certified by the school, the lender will provide students with a cancellation period, required by law.
  6. Funds sent to the school. After the mandatory cancellation period, the lender will send the loan funds to UTRGV.

Important Reminders

  • UTRGV strongly encourages students to file a FAFSA and exhaust all federal and state aid options (including the Federal PLUS Loan) before applying for a private loan.
  • If the lender of choice is not listed on FASTChoice, students may visit the lender's website to apply.
  • There is a four- to six-week processing time for all Private Loans. Students must complete and return requests from the lender in a timely manner.
  • Students must follow up with the lender to ensure that they have received all requested documents needed to finalize the loan.
  • After the lender approves a loan based on credit, the loan request must be certified by the school.
  • UTRGV may not certify all loans requested. UTRGV only certifies private loans for Physician Assistant and International students.
  • Loans will not be processed for a calendar year (January–December) or for a 12-month period. The loan period will be adjusted to reflect the current academic term.
  • Funds are sent to the school in the form of a check made out to both the student and UTRGV. Once the check arrives at UTRGV, the school will contact the student.
  • Please note that funds will not be issued by the first class day of the semester. Students must plan accordingly.
  • It is extremely important for students to understand all the terms and conditions of the private loan selected. For questions on a specific program, students must contact the lender.

The Office of Student Financial Services subscribes to the Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct and the NASFAA Statement of Ethical Principals. It is important to make yourself familiar with the Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct or NASFAA Statement of Ethical Principles.