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Financial Aid & Scholarships Office


Alternative Student Loan

Student Loans

An alternative student loan, or private educational loan, is a credit-based supplemental loan made by private lenders to help “fill the gap” between your Cost of Attendance (COA) and what the Financial Aid Office can award. Alternative student loans are not considered a federal loan so the interest could be higher and variable. Some lenders do offer a fixed interest rate product. The interest rate will be based on the borrower's credit. Students may be required to apply with a co-borrower.

Although this is a “private” student loan, lenders require the Financial Aid Office to certify the loan so that the student does not borrow more than their COA. The Financial Aid Office can help you determine your eligibility for an alternative student loan.​

How much can I borrow?

Eligible students should apply for federal student aid before applying for an alternative student loan.

Generally, students may borrow up to their Cost of Attendance (COA) minus any other aid awarded. However, it is highly recommended that you borrow only what you actually need.

Attention Graduate and Professional Students!

If you are enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program, we recommend that you borrow the Graduate PLUS Loan instead of an alternative student loan. Some benefits of the Graduate PLUS Loan are:

  • Less stringent credit check than alternative loans
  • Eligible for federal consolidation
  • More repayment options
  • Can defer or forbear while in residency (Medical & Dental students)
  • Eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Fixed interest rate

Will my credit be considered?

Yes, students and co-borrowers must meet the lender’s established minimum credit criteria. Lenders may consider a number of factors when determining loan eligibility such as credit-worthiness, debt-to-income ratio. Students and co-borrowers are encouraged to obtain a free copy of their credit report annually from for these major credit reporting agencies:


How to Evaluate and Choose a Lender

If you make good choices about lenders right from the start, the whole process will go more smoothly, from application to that final payment. You'll want to compare the following aspects of lender services when deciding which lender to choose:

  • Interest rates, fees and terms:
    • How is your interest rate calculated?
    • Can I get a better interest rate by applying with a co-signer?
    • Are there any additional fees for this loan?
    • What are the terms of the loan?
  • Customer service:
    • Can you reach a live operator quickly to check on the status of your loan during hours convenient for you?
    • Can you set up an online account and will it show you current information and timely updates?
  • Loan application processes:
    • Can you apply online?
    • Is instant loan approval offered?
  • Repaying your loan:
    • How soon do I have to start repaying the loan after graduation or dropping below half-time status?
    • Does the lender offer deferment or forbearance options while I’m in school and after graduation?
  • Early payment:
    • Are there any penalties for paying off the loan early?
  • Repayment plans:
    • What repayment plans and options are available?
  • Repayment incentives:
    • What incentives does the lender offer for borrowers who pay on time or make loan payments electronically?

  • Undergraduate students: Check with the lender to see if you may qualify for a lower interest rate by applying with a co-borrower.
  • International students: Most lenders require you to apply with a co-borrower who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid social security number. Ask your lender for their application requirements.


If you are seeking an alternative student loan you will initiate the process by contacting the lender of your choice. Please notify the Financial Aid Office that you have applied for an alternative student loan and the lender you selected. The lender will submit a school certification request to the Financial Aid Office.

Once the Financial Aid Office processes the certification request, your lender will notify you of the total amount certified and the amount and date of each disbursement (disclosure statement). Funds will be sent to the University to pay your tuition bill first. Any remaining funds will be sent to you by the Bursar's Office via direct deposit or mail.

(Apply using School Code 004508-00)

Listed below are links to lenders used by students at CU Denver|Anschutz over the past academic year.

We encourage you to utilize the information in the “How to Evaluate and Choose a Lender” section above when selecting your lender. Please note that you are not limited to the lenders listed below. Please contact your lender for specific eligibility requirements and terms.

Lender​​ Website
Bank of North Dakota - Dakota Educ Alt Loan​
Citizens Bank
Credit Union Student Choice
Discover Student Loans
SallieMae Private Student Loans
Sun Trust Education Loan
Wells Fargo Private Student Loan
​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​

Additional Information

For more information, other lenders, and a lender comparison chart, go to ​

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