Financial Aid

Alternative Loans

Alternative student loans are private loans offered by lenders specifically targeted to satisfy educational costs greater than the total financial aid received. Most lenders require students with limited credit history to have a co-signer, such as a friend or family member. This may improve the chances of loan approval and may help qualify the borrower for a lower interest rate.

The most common reasons some families apply for alternative student loans instead of PLUS loans are:

  1. The parents may not be able to satisfy the credit requirements, but someone else agrees to co-sign the alternative student loan.
  2. Some alternative student loans require the student to enroll in as few as 3 credits per semester, whereas PLUS loans require at least half-time enrollment (6 undergraduate or Law School credits; 4.5 other graduate credits at Hofstra).
  3. Families agree that the student, rather than the parents, should be the borrower.
  4. Some alternative loans can be borrowed retroactively to cover outstanding bills.

View a list of alternative student loan lenders.

Though private loans are a valuable source of funding, federal student aid might be available to you as well. Also, federal loans may be less costly than a private student loan, and the terms and conditions of federal loans may be more favorable than the provisions of private education loans. Some private lenders may require minimum monthly payments while you are in school. They may also consider federal education loan borrowing in determining the amount of annual as well as aggregate limits you may borrow. For further information regarding federal loan programs and how to apply for a federal loan, please visit

Hofstra University does not prefer, recommend, promote, endorse, or suggest any of these lenders. You are not required to borrow from any of the lenders appearing on these lists and there is no penalty for selecting a different lender, if you prefer.

Links are provided as a general information resource for the use of visitors to the website. The links provided are maintained by their respective organizations and they are solely responsible for their content. Hofstra does not favor one link over the other, nor does Hofstra endorse or profit, in whole or in part, from any products or services offered or promoted by any of the websites whose links appear.