Alternative Loans

About Alternative/Private Loans

Private student loans (sometimes called Alternative loans) are loans that students may access to help pay for the cost of attending college.  They are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, or DMACC.

Students should only consider private loans after applying for federal and state financial aid.  In fact, a DMACC student is often required to complete the FAFSA before accessing any private loan program.  Private student loans are available to supplement your federal financial aid award if you need additional financial aid.  In most cases, they should not be a student's primary form of financial aid.  

If you need to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) visit fafsa.gov.  You can complete a FAFSA even if the semester has already begun. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions or need further information by calling 1-800-362-2127 ext 6282 or 515-964-6282.

Applying for a Private Student Loan

FASTChoice is a resource that can assist you in finding and comparing private student loan options.  FastChoice can also help you with the application process.

Some things to consider when accessing/comparing loan options:

  • Have you applied for federal financial aid?
  • Have you maxed out your Federal Direct Loan options?
  • Do you know how much it costs to attend DMACC?
  • Do you have a student budget?
  • Do you know what your income will be after you complete college?
  • Will you be able to afford the loan payments?
  • Does the loan require a co-signer? Even if you qualify for the loan on your own, will having a cosigner lower your interest rate?
  • If your loan requires a co-signer, can the co-signer be released at some point during repayment?
  • What is the interest rate? Does the Federal Direct Loan have a more favorable interest rate?
  • Is the interest rate fixed or variable? 
  • When does the interest begin accruing?
  • When does repayment begin? Does the Federal Direct Loan have better repayment terms?

Important DMACC Private Loan Eligibility Items

  • DMACC's Alternative/Private Loan Procedure is ES 4325
  • Students wishing to access a private loan must complete the FAFSA to ensure he or she has considered federal and state financial aid prior to borrowing a private loan. Exceptions to this are noted in ES 4325.
  • All students accessing a private loan must complete “Borrowing Essentials" on FASTChoice.  If a student fails to complete Borrowing Essentials the private loan will not be certified.
  • All prospective private loan borrowers must be successfully admitted into a program of study at DMACC (or be seeking registration in an eligible non-credit program).
  • The ONLY eligible non-credit/non-Title IV programs that a student may access private loans to attend are the Transportation Institute's Truck Driver Training Program and the Summer Fire Academy.
  • Private loan amounts are limited by a student's cost of attendance (student budget) as determined by the Financial Aid Office less any other financial aid received.
  • Private loans are cancelled for student that are not enrolled or fail to attend.  Students that withdrawal prior to a term's census date will be subject to the cancellation of their private loan.
  • Other eligibility factors are at the determination of the student's chosen lender.

Receiving the funds from your Private Student Loan

  1. Once you have been approved by your private lender for a student loan, your lender will send your loan information to DMACC to be certified.  Prior to certifying the loan, DMACC will ensure you meet all eligibility requirements.  If something additional is needed, DMACC will contact you via your student e-mail address.  
  2. Once certification is complete, the funds will be sent to DMACC. All private loans, as with other financial aid funds, are first applied directly to your DMACC account to pay charges for tuition and other college-related charges.
  3. If your loan funds exceed the charges on your student account, you will then receive these funds (referred to as a "refund") to pay other educationally related expenses.
  4. Disbursing or crediting your student account with private loan funds will only occur after verifying that you are attending the courses for which you are registered.  More information about when funds are released to students can be found by visiting the “Release of Funds Information" portion of this website.