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Alternative Loan

If you have expenses that are not paid for by the Federal loans or grants you have received, you may want to investigate private loans as an alternative. Most alternative loans require a good credit rating and/or a creditworthy co-signer. Terms, fees, and borrowing limits of alternative loans may differ from lender to lender.

Federal and State Aid First!

The University of Houston-Clear Lake recommends that all students complete the process for federal and state aid before considering alternative (private) loans. You may qualify for federal or state grants or loans. The terms and conditions of federal and state aid may be more favorable than the terms and conditions of alternative loans. If you decide to forgo the federal and state application process, you will be required to meet with a financial aid counselor for special loan counseling.

If you served on Active Duty, you might be eligible for education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For example, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides financial support for educational and housing expenses to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.

If you are currently serving in the military, you may be eligible for funding offered through the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance program. Check your eligibility status and the amount for which you qualify with your Service prior to enrolling.

If you are the spouse or child of a service member who is serving on active duty Title 10 orders in the pay grades of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Department of Defense for education, training, and/or the occupational license and credentials necessary for a portable career.

If you are the spouse or child of a service member, you may be eligible for transfer of the service member’s Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits to you.

Alternative loans

  • Are not federally guaranteed
  • Often require certification by the Office of Student Financial Aid
  • We will not lend more than the annual cost of attendance minus the total you were awarded in other financial aid.
  • You will be asked to complete a Private/Alternative Loan Self-Certification Form from your lender. You can find information in your E-services account to complete this form. If you have issues completing this form, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Apply to your lender online

Several lenders have expressed an interest in lending to UHCL students. We have partnered with ELM Resources to provide a lender comparison and application tool. Please visit our ELM Select website to compare and apply to these lenders. The ELM Select Web site also contains required information about how the lenders they list are selected.

Please note: You are free to select any lender you wish. The lender does not have to be on the ELM Select website. UHCL will certify an alternative loan to any eligible student regardless of lender.

Student loan Code of Conduct

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the University of Houston-Clear Lake's Office of Student Financial Aid maintains and enforces a Student Loan Code of Conduct.

The office also adheres to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals.

The federal government requires the University of Houston-Clear Lake to disclose certain characteristics about the selection of the lenders below. The following FAQ is designed to maintain compliance with the disclosure regulations. If you have any questions regarding alternative loans or the information listed below, please feel free to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 281-283-2480 or via email at

1. How did we gather proposals for inclusion on the comparison chart of lenders?

A broadcast message was sent via our state professional organization's electronic listserv on April 6, 2022. Lenders are associate members of the state professional organization. Interested lenders were asked to respond via email by April 20, 2022  for a Request for Information (RFI) form. Lender representatives who responded to the broadcast message received a RFI via email.

2. What criteria did you use to determine which lenders to include in the comparison chart on ELM Select?

Lenders who completed the RFI by May 1, 2022, were included in the comparison chart on ELM Select.

3. How current is the comparison chart?

All information was received by May 1, 2022. The chart will be used from June 2022 to June 2024, and a new chart will be effective July 2024. Please note: The current chart is subject to change at any time.

4. Are any of these lenders affiliated with another lender?

Yes, the lenders below are affiliated with one another. 

Affiliates of Sallie Mae include Sallie Mae Bank and Regions Bank.

Citizens is a funding source for Cognition Financial's suite of loan products. The Cognition loan program is designed and originated by Cognition Financial with Citizens acting as the lender of record. Cognition Financial is fully independent from Citizens. The Cognition Financial products are separate and distinct with their own unique lender codes, features and benefits, application, and underwriting process. 

Higher Education Servicing Corp has referral relationships with Texas lenders, primarily credit unions that do not offer their own student loans.

5. Can I secure an alternative loan before considering federal aid options?

If you are eligible for federal financial aid, you will need to visit with a financial aid counselor to consider this option. Generally, we will not approve an alternative loan before awarding all available federal aid first. In general, federal aid has lower costs and is more favorable for students to utilize than alternative loans.

6. How much can I borrow in an alternative loan?

It depends. The amount you may borrow is the difference in the amount of aid already awarded subtracted from your Cost of Attendance. For each individual student, this is a different amount. For example, if your Cost of Attendance is $12,000 and you received $7,000 in financial aid, you may be able to borrow up to $5,000 in an alternative loan. However, please note, a lender has to approve you for this amount.

7. Can I borrow from a lender not on the comparison chart?

Yes. You can borrow from any lender you wish. You do not have to borrow from a lender on the comparison chart.

Note: University of Houston-Clear Lake cannot be held liable in the event the borrower and/ or co-borrower is dissatisfied with the rates, terms, or service provided by any lender, nor is the school responsible for any damages incurred by the borrower and/or co-borrower as a result of the student's choice of lender. The information listed above is current as of  June 2022.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at


  • Student Financial Aid

    Phone: 281-283-2480
    Fax: 281-283-2502

    SSCB 1.105
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 05
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

    Office hours:
    Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    School Code: