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Financial Aid: Alternative Loans Versus Financial Aid - Which is Better?

Question: Is it a better idea to apply for Alternative Loans prior to filing for Financial Aid

Answer: Absolutely not! Before applying for an alternative student loan, a student should apply for financial aid, including the Federal Direct Student Loan. 

If the student has applied for aid as a dependent student, his or her parent can apply for a Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Direct PLUS Loan). Then, if the student needs additional funds, the student or parent can apply for a private alternative student loan in an amount up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student will receive for the loan period.