Alternative (Private) Loans

BEFORE applying for an Alternative (Private) Loan, please note:

  • All eligible students should complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine federal student grant and loan eligibility.
  • Federal student loans (subsidized or unsubsidized) almost always offer lower borrowing costs and more favorable benefits tailored to students and their families. Alternative (private) loans should only be considered after all federal student loan eligibility has been exhausted.
  • UMBC requires students to be degree-seeking for an alternative (private) loan.
  • Questions to consider before applying for your alternative (private) loan:
    • Are there fees associated with this loan?
    • What is the interest rate?
    • What repayment terms and benefits does this lender offer?
    • Will I need a co-signer?
    • How much should I borrow?
    • Will I be required to make payments while enrolled?
    • What is my current outstanding balance not covered by financial aid?
    • What are the enrollment requirements for this loan?

Alternative (Private) Loan Lenders

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County has partnered with ELM to provide a neutral listing of some alternative loan options that may be available to you. By clicking the link below, you will be taken to the ELM website where you can search through many lenders which partner with ELM. There are many lending institutions so students and parents should carefully research multiple options and choose the lender that best meets their individual financial needs. You may also choose lenders that are not listed on the ELM website. Please note that the listing of alternative loan options on the ELM website is not comprehensive and the University does not endorse any specific lender or group of lenders.

ELM Alternative (Private) Loan Search

After you have completed your application, the loan request will:

  • Be sent electronically from the lender to our loan data provider, ELM, and
  • We will receive the loan request and certify your loan eligibility on ELM within our current processing timeframe (usually three to four weeks), and
  • ELM will send notification to your lender that the loan request has been certified, and
  • The lender will schedule the electronic funds transfer (EFT) directly to UMBC
  • Please monitor and respond quickly to any school or lender requests

Self-Certification and Cost of Attendance (COA)

New regulations require students requesting private loans to complete, sign and return to the lender a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form.

Application Priority Processing Dates

Your loan application must be on file with our office by our federal loan priority processing dates in order for the loan funds to be available for the first billing due date. Any loan applications received after these dates will be processed within our current processing time frame (usually three to four weeks from date the application is received).

Alternative (private) loans are an option for students who have a balance from a prior semester or a balance in collections as long as it is approved by the lender. It is recommended that you contact the lender to confirm whether they will approve a loan for a completed semester or a balance in collections before submitting the application.

Reduce or Cancel an Alternative (Private) Loan

If you would like to reduce or cancel your alternative (private) loan, you should contact your lender to make the adjustment then contact our office.

Student Loan Code of Conduct

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires educational institutions to develop and follow a code of conduct to prevent conflicts of interest in student financial services. You may visit the Student Loan Code of Conduct link for more information on UMBC’s obligations.


Please be aware that The Office of Financial aid and Scholarships is NOT able to provide co-signers for students or parents pursuing loan options.