Private Credit Based Alternative Loans

Borrowers have the right and ability to select the education loan provider of their choice and are not required to use any of the lenders on this list. Niagara receives no incentive or benefit from any lender on this list. All of the listed lenders provide loans for graduate and undergraduate students to provide funds beyond what federal programs can offer. Students can borrow up to cost of attendance minus financial aid. All loans are variable interest rates unless otherwise indicated. 

  • Niagara University does not automatically certify alternative loans until students have completed the FAFSA and their eligibility for Federal Stafford Loans has been determined.
  • It is usually in the student’s best interest to borrow from the Federal Stafford Loan program first before borrowing an alternative loan. There is no cap on the interest rate for an alternative loan.
  • If a student does not intend to complete a FAFSA and only wants an alternative loan, we must be notified in writing to determine your eligibility for the alternative loan.

Consumer Alert

  • Lenders look at your credit score to determine if you are a good credit risk. Applying for more than one alternative Loan will no longer negatively affect your credit score. It’s treated as a “soft hit” on your credit report for both the borrower and the co-signer if you are applying to multiple lenders.
  • Be wary of any direct to consumer loans that do not require a school certification. Usually the interest rates on those loans are much higher. If a school certification is not required, you will be asked for a bill or a copy of your class schedule.
  • The Financial Aid Office is required by federal regulations to make certain your aid does not exceed cost of attendance if the aid includes a loan. The cost of attendance elements are set by federal regulation.
  • Important: Pursuant to Section 155 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, (HEA) and to satisfy the requirements of Section 128(e)(3) of the Truth in Lending Act, a lender must obtain a self-certification signed by the applicant before disbursing a private education loan. The school is required on request to provide this form or the required information only for students admitted or enrolled at the school. This form is available on our website or in the Financial Aid Office upon request. 
  • Defaulting on your loan could prevent you from owning a car or a house one day, and it is virtually impossible to eliminate student debt by declaring bankruptcy except in extreme cases of hardship.

Questions you want to ask before borrowing an alternative loan

  • What is the interest rate?
  • What is the cap on the interest rate?
  • When and how often is the interest capitalized (added to the principal)?
  • When does repayment begin?
  • What are the penalties for missing a payment?
  • Can you postpone payments after graduation; under what circumstances?
  • Is there in-school deferment for graduate school; and is there a maximum time for in-school deferment?

Lender Selection:

Niagara University’s Preferred Lender List is developed by surveying lenders on an annual basis in order to provide a resource to assist our students as they research loan options. Lenders are asked to provide information regarding their benefits and services. This includes:

  • Terms and conditions of the lender’s loan products (for example, interest rates, options for repayment length, etc.)
  • Borrower benefits (for example, lender payment of fees, interest rate reductions for on-time payments)
  • Previous lender service to Niagara University
  • Previous lender service to borrowers
  • Loan processing (for example, speed of loan approval and disbursement, error resolution)

The information is carefully reviewed by the Financial Aid Office at Niagara University annually to ensure that our students receive the best possible service and benefits associated with their private educational loans.

Lenders order is alphabetical.  It is best to contact the lender concerning current rates and benefits.

LenderDescription of Loan

Citizen's Bank
P: 800.708.6684
Disclosure Information

Variable and fixed rate options available.

Discover Private Loan
P: 877.728.3030
8 - 12 a.m., Sun-Sat (Eastern Time)
Disclosure Information

Variable rate only.

PNC Solution Loan
P: 800.762.1001, option 1
8 a.m. - 6 p.m., M-F (Eastern Time)

Variable and fixed rate options available.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan
P: 888.272.5543

Variable and fixed rate options available.

Wells Fargo Collegiate Loan
P: 800.658.3567
8 a.m. - 10 p.m., M-F
7 a.m. - 12 p.m., Sat (Eastern Time)
Collegiate Disclosure Information
Graduate Disclosure Information
MedCAP Disclosure Information

Variable and fixed rate options available.

If you would like to shop around and compare private student loans you can go to
www.elmselect.com