Alternative Loans


Please use the third-party website, ELM Select, to view our Alternative Loan Recommended Lender List.

Alternative loans are student and parent loans borrowed through a bank or credit union. The Recommended Lender List is a list of common lenders that students use at PennWest Edinboro. However, students and parents can choose any bank or credit union that they would like to borrow a loan through.

The University recommends using the Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Direct Parent or Graduate PLUS loans and payment plan with the Student Accounts Office before choosing to take out an Alternative Loan. Undergraduate students who apply for an Alternative Loan will most likely need a credit-worthy co-signer to be approved.

Please be sure to shop around at the different banks and credit unions to choose one that works for your family before applying. We recommend waiting until you receive your University bill before applying so you know how much to borrow for the year. Please keep in mind that we bill per semester, so when you receive your Fall bill, you will want to double the amount due to cover both the Fall and Spring semesters.

Alternative Loan Recommended Lender List Selection Process

Federal loan regulations, set by the Department of Education, require a school that chooses to provide a Recommend Lender List to borrowers to disclose their method of selecting the lenders included on their list of suggested lenders. This guide is to provide information to borrowers about the method PennWest Edinboro's Financial Aid Office used to create the Alternative Loan Recommended Lender List.

According to Section 682.212 of the Federal Register, published by the Department of Education, "A school may, at its option, make available a list of recommended or suggested lenders, in print or any other medium or form, for use by the school's students or their parents, provided such list:

Steps Taken With Decision Process:

An internal review was completed with the lenders most often chosen by PennWest Edinboro students. The goal was to provide a limited number of recommended lenders that will provide the best loan offerings, electronic loan certification, customer service, and reliability of the program.

Criteria Used to Select Lenders:

Best Loan Offerings - Lenders were evaluated on borrower benefits to students such as:

Electronic Loan Certification - Lenders were evaluated on the ease of the application process, web-based services, and school notification.

Customer Service - Lenders were evaluated on the quality of products and services, years offering the current private loan, and the servicer of the private loans.

Reliability of the Program - Lenders were evaluated on the source and stability of the loan capital used in providing loans. It is important to select lenders who are reliable and will continue to service borrowers for future years.

Once all information had been gathered and considered, the committee within the Financial Aid and Students Account Offices made a decision for the 2019-2020 academic year on the above criteria. Lenders were notified by email.

Am I obligated to use one of the "recommended" lenders?

No. You are always free to choose among the hundreds of lenders who provide student loans. You should stay with the same lender (or service provider) for future loans as this will prevent the receipt of multiple bills every month once you begin repayment; however, this is not required. If you have an existing banking relationship (checking, savings, etc.), you should compare your bank's student loan offerings to those of the suggested lenders and make the choice that is best for you. Remember that most banks use third-party services (they sell their loans and benefits may not be maintained) to collect payments, so you will probably not be able to make monthly payments at your local bank branch.

Private Alternative Loan Requirements Effective Feb. 14, 2010

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) mandated a number of changes to provide a significant amount of additional information to families who choose to utilize private educational loans. Title X of the HEOA changes the disclosure requirements for the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) for private education loans made expressly for post-secondary education expenses. These requirements could delay the receipt of Alternative Loan approvals and disbursements. Please plan accordingly.

The regulations require lenders to produce the following disclosures to borrowers:

Application and Solicitation Disclosure - The lender must provide a general range of rates and fees so the borrowers can make informed decisions when choosing a private loan lender.

Loan Approval Disclosure - When an applicant is conditionally approved for a loan, the lender must send this disclosure with borrower-specific rates and fees.

Final Disclosure - This is sent to the borrower after the loan terms are accepted and the school has certified the student's eligibility for the loan. The Final Disclosure gives the borrower a three-business- day right-to-cancel period.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form - A lender must obtain a signed and completed Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form that has been created by the Department of Education. The self-certification form will include information about the availability of federal student loans, the student's cost of attendance, an estimated amount of financial assistance, and the difference between the student's cost of attendance and estimated financial aid. The borrower must complete a borrower self-certification form and return to the lender.

Be proactive: contact your lender throughout the Alternative Loan process with any questions you might have.


Contact Us

Financial Aid Office
Hamilton Hall
210 Glasgow Road
Edinboro, PA 16444
Phone: 814-732-3500
Fax: 814-732-2129

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.