Private Alternative & Bar Study Loans

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Alternative loans are available through commercial lenders for educational costs during periods of enrollment. They are based on credit-worthiness (meaning that the lender will do a credit check). We recommend that students request a copy of their credit report to check for accuracy and that all valid credit problems are addressed before applying for an alternative loan.

We strongly suggest that students submit a FAFSA and seek federal loan assistance before attempting to participate in any alternative loan programs.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification

Before disbursement of any private education loan can occur (during periods of enrollment only), the private loan self certification form must be completed and submitted to your lender.


1. Following the instructions included on the form below.

2. In order to complete Section 3 of the form, you will need to access:

  • Your Cost of Attendance to complete Section 3, Item A
  • Your Estimated Financial Aid by following these instructions:
    • Log-in to CaneLink (formerly myUM)
    • Click on the "Student" tab, then click "Financial"
    • Under the "Financial Aid Information" section, select "Current Awards"
    • Write the total of your estimated financial aid award on Section 3, Item B of the form.
    • Complete Section 3, Item C using the formula on the form.
    • If you have any questions, please contact our office.

3. Submit this form to your lender once completed; do not submit this form to Financial Aid Office.

4. The loan is only sent to the financial aid office for certification if your credit is approved.

5. Once your loan is certified by our office, your lender may require additional action. Please check with your lender.

International students may be eligible for alternative loans. Click here for further information.

Bar Study Loans

Bar study loans are post-enrollment educational loans specifically designed for law students. They assist with bar application costs and living expenses during the period the student is studying for the Bar. These loans are not need based and require credit worthiness. Students are not eligible to apply until they are in their final year of study and lenders may require the Financial Aid Office to certify students' graduation date. Students may borrow with the lender of their choice.

Bar study loans should be submitted directly to your lender. We certify loan applications after your lender has processed and approved your request. You may use the Private Student Loan Comparison Chart at the bottom of the Private Student Loans webpage as an aid in selecting a lender for your Bar Study Loan.

Understanding Credit Scores

Fair Isaac Corporation, FICO, recently updated its credit-risk assessment model. According to Fair Isaac, the new model, FICO 08, will allow lenders to better predict which borrowers are likely to default on their obligations. FICO projects that the new model will improve the accuracy of lending decisions by 15%.

FICO 08 will:

  • Still range from 300 - 800 (the higher the score, the lower the assessed risk of default).
  • Increase credit scores for persons with accounts with good repayment histories.
  • Increase credit scores for person who have one major account in delinquency but otherwise have a number of major accounts with good repayment histories.
  • Reduce credit scores for persons with poor repayment histories, especially persons who are habitually delinquent.

TransUnion LLC has started offering the new score. Equifax is expected to follow in the second quarter of 2009 while Experian Group Ltd. does not offer the FICO score.

The factors included in FICO 08 to determine creditworthiness are:

  • Payment History (35% of score)
  • Account Balances Relative to Available Credit (30% of score)
  • Length of Credit History (15% of credit score)
  • Recent Credit Applications (10% of credit score)
  • Types of Available Credit (10% of credit score)

Additional information is available here.