Alternative Loans

Alternative loans should be considered once you have explored the options available through the Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and/or PLUS loan programs. Some families turn to alternative loans when the federal loans don't provide enough money or when they need more flexible repayment options. (For example, a parent might be willing to cosign a note for the student but may want the student to bear primary responsibility for repaying the loan.)

Advantages of a Co-signer

Eligibility for alternative loans often depends on the student's credit score; therefore, a cosigner is most often required. Even if a cosigner is not required, the student can usually receive a more favorable rate with a cosigner. Alternative loans generally cost more than the education loans offered by the federal government but are less expensive than credit card debt.

Fixed versus Variable

Some lenders offer a fixed rate product, while others offer a variable rate product. Some lenders offer both types. A fixed interest rate will not fluctuate over time. A variable interest rate moves (up or down) based on changes of an underlying index. Some variable rate loans have an interest cap which cannot be exceeded.

Determining How Much to Borrow

Use your award letter, your BearWeb account, or contact a counselor in the Student Financial Aid Office to determine your maximum alternative loan eligibility. You should only request loan funds to cover your specific educational needs rather than the maximum allowed for the enrollment period. We recommend you borrow for the full academic year, not one semester at a time. Interest does not begin accruing on each portion of the loan until that portion is actually disbursed. Calculate how much you need to borrow for the semester and double that amount to cover both the fall and spring semesters. If you need help preparing a personalized budget, you may make an individual appointment by emailing

Loan Periods

Use the following dates for loan periods on your application. Please note, online programs may have different loan periods. Contact our office if you have questions. Also, please remember to enter the requested loan amount.

2018-2019 Academic Year
  • Undergraduates and Graduate Sudents

    Fall/Spring 08/18 - 05/19
    Fall 08/18 - 12/18
    Spring 01/19 - 05/19
    Summer 05/19 - 08/19

  • Law Students

    Fall/Winter/Spring 08/18 - 04/19
    Fall 08/18 - 11/18
    Winter 11/18 - 01/19
    Spring 02/19 - 04/19
    Summer 05/19 - 08/19

2019-2020 Academic Year
  • Undergraduates and Graduate Sudents

    Fall/Spring 08/19 - 05/20
    Fall 08/19 - 12/19
    Spring 01/20 - 05/20
    Summer 05/20 - 08/20

  • Law Students

    Fall/Winter/Spring 08/19 - 04/20
    Fall 08/19 - 11/19
    Winter 11/19 - 01/20
    Spring 02/20 - 04/20
    Summer 05/20 - 08/20

Choosing a Lender

You are NOT restricted to the lenders presented on our preferred lender list. You should not be directed to any specific lender by the University; you may choose any participating lender and follow their application process.

Some important factors for you to consider in choosing a lender include cost (interest rates and potential origination fees), flexibility (repayment options), and customer service. Common customer service considerations include the availability of a fixed rate loan product, account information online, deferment options, and cosigner release options.

Baylor's lender list was established by an open Request for Information (RFI) process and scored by a University committee who reviewed submissions from lenders in spring 2017 on the basis of borrower benefits and services, timely processing, and prompt customer service. Placement on the lender list is the result of our evaluation of the lender's borrower benefits offered, flexibility, and customer service to you and our staff.

To comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), Baylor has adopted the federally mandated Code of Conduct for Education Loans to address specific legislative concerns relating to educational loan programs.