Alternative Loans

Alternative loans, also known as private loans, are commercial loans offered by banks and other private lenders as an option to help cover the difference between the cost of attendance and the student’s financial aid offer. Private or alternative loans are not federally guaranteed and should only be considered after your eligibility for all other types of aid have been exhausted.

The repayment terms of federal loan programs may be more favorable than the terms of private loans. Alternative student loans may not be included in Federal Direct Consolidation Loans and are not eligible for Federal Income-Based Repayment Plan or for Federal Economic Hardship deferments.

  • Choosing a Lender

    Choosing a lender is an important decision that will affect you for the life of your loan. Rules for repayment and deferment vary from lender to lender, although repayment generally begins after full disbursement. Some lenders may postpone/defer repayment during periods of at least half-time enrollment and economic hardship; however, interest will continue to accrue on the loan from the date it is disbursed.  We encourage you to compare loan programs carefully before selecting a lender and to borrow as little as possible.

    Our FASTChoice tool is available to assist you in choosing a lender. The information presented on this site is unbiased, thorough and clearly presented. You may choose any participating program or lender you wish; no preference is given to any particular lender.

    Please note that neither Pitzer College nor any of its employees have received benefits of any kind or any other compensation from FASTChoice (Great Lakes Education Loan Services, Inc.) in exchange for providing this listing or from any of the lenders on the website. You can also review Pitzer College’s Financial Aid Code of Conduct and Policy on Educational Loans in the Policies section of our website.

  • Interest Rates & Other Fees

    Interest rates, origination and repayment fees for these loans vary and are set by the lender. Most private lenders require a co-borrower and interest rates are based on the credit of the borrower and/or co-borrower. Current interest rates vary from 0% to 14%, vary on a monthly or quarterly basis and may not have a maximum interest rate cap.

    The Federal Direct Loans have a fixed interest (which is not dependent on credit) of 3.73% for subsidized and unsubsidized loans and a loan origination fee as high as 1.057%. Every student who applies for a Federal Direct Loan is eligible to receive one, assuming the student is enrolled at least half-time and meets the criteria for federal aid. Students are expected to have exhausted all of their federal loan options before applying for a private loan.

  • Loan Restrictions

    Students must be U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens and be enrolled at least half-time. A co-borrower is required for a student who does not have established credit or who has a low credit score. International students may borrow an alternative loan with a creditworthy co-borrower who is a U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens.

  • Apply for a Private Loan
      1. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to confirm that you have exhausted all federal loan options. E-mail us at or call us at 909.621.8208.
      2. Choose a lender and apply online. If you need assistance choosing a lender, our FASTChoice tool is available.
      3. Once you have completed all required paperwork with your lender, Pitzer will receive information to certify your loan.

    After we certify your loan, it will take a few days for our office to pay your loans to your student account.