Alternative/Private Student Loans

Alternative student loans (also called education or private student loans) are designed to bridge the gap between college costs and traditional financial aid resources. They may be used to help pay for current term expenses, past due balances from a previous term or academic year, and can also be used for students who are enrolled less than half time.

Alternative student loans cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid the student is receiving. They are offered and serviced by private loan lenders. California Lutheran University will only certify alternative student loans for students who are meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Federal vs. Alternative Student Loans

If you are trying to decide between borrowing a federal student loan or a private student loan, be sure to compare the pros and cons of each before making your decision.

If you completed the FAFSA, you may qualify for loans or other assistance under the Title IV HEA program. The terms and conditions of Title IV HEA program loans may be more favorable than the provisions of private student loans. Generally, students should exhaust their federal loan eligibility before opting for an private student loan.

How To Apply

1. Select a lender of your choice and apply for a student loan.
Feel free to use the link above to help you find a lender. We do not endorse any particular lender.

2. Submit a Self-Certification form to your chosen lender (if requested by chosen lender).
Some lenders may include an online self-certification form as part of their online application process.

3. After being approved for a loan by your lender, submit a Cal Lutheran Private Loan Request form.
This form is required by Cal Lutheran. Allow 2-4 weeks for the loan to be processed by the financial aid office.

1. Select a Lender

Eligibility for an alternative/private student loan is based on the student's and co-signer's (if required) credit history. Most loan lenders allow students to determine if they would like to have a fixed or variable interest rate.

CLU is an impartial party and cannot recommend any particular lender. However, through careful consideration of many factors, including borrower benefits, CLU has developed a list of lenders that are currently participating in private student lending. Students are in no way restricted to this list of lenders when borrowing Alternative Loans.

Lender Search Tool




2. Submit Self-Certification Form

Important Note: Some lenders may have the student complete the Self-Certification form online during the lender's application process which means you will not have to complete or submit the Self-Certification form noted here.

Contact your chosen lender to determine if you need to submit the self-certification form or not.

Download the Alternative Loan Self-Certification Form.

The Title X of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires that a series of three loan disclosures be provided to Alternative Loan borrowers throughout the application process and that the borrower also complete an Alternative Loan Self-Certification Form prior to the loan being disbursed.

The purpose of the disclosures is to:

  • Present the terms/cost of the loan in a clear and consistent manner.
  • Allow for comparison shopping and re-evaluation of borrowing an alternative loan during the application process.
  • Present lower cost federal options that should be exhausted prior to considering an alternative loan.
  • Reduce overall borrower indebtedness.

The student is required to complete the Alternative Loan Self-Certification Form and return it to the Alternative Loan Lender. The Alternative Loan Lender will not disburse any loan funds until the student’s completed form has been received.

Below are instructions on how to obtain information that is required to complete the Alternative Loan Self-Certification Form. Please read all sections carefully.

Section 2 of the Self-Certification Form Explained:
Cost of Attendance and Estimated Financial Assistance

Part A: Cost of Attendance (COA)

  • For Traditional Undergraduate students, please refer to Undergraduate Estimated Cost of Attendance for specific amounts.
  • For Professionals or Graduate students, the COA is variable based on the number of units the student is registered in per term and the number of terms he or she attends CLU in an academic year. Contact the Financial Aid Office to find out more about specific COAs.

Part B: Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) Please follow these steps to determine your EFA:

  • Accept or Reject Financial Aid.
  • Add together all accepted aid (in scholarships, grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Stafford Loans, and Parent PLUS Loan) for the academic year.
  • Use the total amount as your Estimated Financial Aid (EFA) amount. Your EFA should not include the current Alternative Loan that you are applying for.

Part C: Difference between COA and EFA

  • The difference between the Cost of Attendance and Estimated Financial Assistance is the maximum amount of Alternative Loan that a student is eligible to apply for.

The student should contact the Alternative Loan Lender to submit the Alternative Loan Self-Certification Form.

Important: Do NOT return this form to the Financial Aid Office. All Self-Certification Forms must be sent to the Alternative Loan Lender. Please be aware that an Alternative Loan cannot be processed until the Lender has received a completed Self-Certification Form in addition to other disclosures that require the student’s signature. CLU recommends that all students follow up with their Alternative Loan Lender to be sure that they have completed all necessary steps.

3. Fill and Submit Cal Lutheran Private Loan Request Form

After you have been approved for a loan from the the lender of your choice, you must complete a Private Loan Request Form online. This form will be processed by the Financial Aid Office. Your loan certification request will not be processed until this form is completed.

Be sure to select the form for the appropriate academic year.

2023-2024 Academic Year (Includes Fall 2023, Spring 2024 & Summer 2024)


2024-2025 Academic Year (Includes Fall 2024, Spring 2025 & Summer 2025)

2024-2025 Private Loan Request form

For questions related to this form please contact the Financial Aid Office at