A private student loan is a non-federal loan that students can apply for through a bank, credit union, or online lender to help fund their college education. Alfred State has partnered with FASTChoice to provide a list of of preferred Private Loan Lenders.
Why does Alfred State have a Preferred Lender List?
We know that the average student/parent does not have the time, knowledge, or resources to research all the available options. We also know that promotional materials or Web sites developed by some lenders are intentionally misleading.
Our Preferred Lenders have demonstrated a commitment to providing the very best customer service, technology, and borrower benefits. These lenders have worked collaboratively with the higher education community to continuously improve and augment the services we provide and are committed to keeping borrower costs as minimal as possible. Our lenders provide detailed information about their product and services, allowing us to provide a side-by-side comparison of each lenders' interest rates, fees, features, and benefits. Private Loans are not regulated by the government in the same manner as Federal Direct Loans and Federal Direct Parent Loans. Therefore, the terms, conditions, and interest rates vary widely.
How does Alfred State select Preferred Lenders?
Lenders are evaluated each academic year. As a result, new lenders may be added due to improvements in their borrower benefits, customer service, and technology. Lenders are included on this list based solely on these criteria. Lenders who make the list have earned the designation through superior service to our students, families, and the college.
Preferred Lender Requirements
Lenders must retain competitive rates and repayment benefits must mirror industry standards. High priority is given to lenders who provide above average repayment benefits to student borrowers. “Value” is not always about price, although our list contains several of the lowest cost providers. Value might be defined as incentives for on-time payments, opportunity to defer payments until graduation, and immediate interest rate reductions. These are just a few examples of the many borrower benefits offered by our lenders.
Lenders must be divisions or affiliates of federally insured commercial banks, federally insured savings banks, credit unions, other established financial services companies, or contract with loan servicers that have been actively engaged in the student loan industry for at least five years.
Lender Customer Service
Lenders must have a proven record of superior customer service. This includes offering a variety of payment options including but not limited to auto-debit and web payment. Lenders must maintain student loan departments staffed by knowledgeable personnel, provide toll free telephone access, and be available nights and weekends in addition to daytime hours.
Lender Technology and Operational Standards
For the benefit of both the student and the college, it is essential that a lender possess state of the art operations, including a web site that is updated in real time and provides 24/7 access to loan information. Lenders must be able to interface with BANNER and ELM Resources and transmit loan funds through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
It is important for lenders to provide Web based default management tools and early intervention for borrowers who are delinquent on their loan payments. Preferred lenders provide payment and repayment calculators, consolidation information, planning/budgeting tips, and credit information to both students and parents. They also provide information to borrowers about costs of deferment/forbearance. Lenders should also provide financial literacy programs including budgeting and credit management.
The Student Records and Financial Services Office at Alfred State continually monitors our policies and procedures to improve our efficiency and service to student borrowers. We depend on our lender partners to support us in this endeavor by keeping us apprised of market changes and providing training on new regulations. We expect our lenders to be flexible and able to respond quickly to accommodate changes or provide required information.
No lender will knowingly misrepresent themselves or their institution's terms, conditions, or benefits. There is a mutual expectation between the lender and Alfred State that neither party will solicit for individual gain.
Do I have to select a lender from the Preferred Lender List?
Absolutely not! You may select any lender that participates in the student loan program. Most banks provide some form of an educational loan.
If you select a lender that is not on our list, please be sure to do your research. Make sure that their benefits, terms, and conditions mirror those of the banks on our list. For a side-by-side comparison of our Preferred Lender benefits, please go to Fast Choice.
Many credit unions, small banks, and “start up” lenders do not have the technology in place to process their loans in an electronic format. It can take four to six weeks to process a paper loan application; compared to two to three days for an electronic loan application. They also may not have the capacity to send your loan via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) which will delay receipt of your funds.
The lenders included on our list are provided as an example of what is available. Please do your own research to ensure that you select the private loan that best meets your needs.
If you have any questions, please contact the Student Records and Financial Services Office toll free at 1-800-4-ALFRED (option 2) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.