Santa Clara University

Guide to Choosing a Lender

There are many private alternative loans lenders to choose from and Santa Clara University loan borrowers are encouraged to independently research various lenders and borrow through the lender of their choice. Below are a few resources that may assist you in finding the lender that best meets your unique needs:

  • If you have a checking or savings account at a financial institution and you have established a good relationship with that institution, you may consider contacting your bank to see if they offer private alternative loans.

Below is a list of questions you may consider asking potential lenders in order to find the best lender for you:

Best Value Benefits to the Borrower

  • Do you charge an origination fee?
  • How do I earn any interest rate or principal balance reduction benefits?
  • When and how will my interest rate be disclosed to me?
  • What do I have to do to earn and/or keep my benefits?
  • What percentage of your customers qualify for these benefits?
  • Are there any fees associated with the loan? If so, will they be deducted from the disbursement or added to the principal loan amount?
  • Do you offer loans for students who are attending school less than half-time (if applicable to the borrower)?
  • Do you offer loans to students who need to pay off a past due balance (if applicable to the borrower)?
  • Are the loan funds sent to the school electronically?

Customer Service

  • Do you have an online application process?
  • Do you service your own loans or sell them to another lender/servicer?
  • What are your call center hours?
  • Do you offer Spanish language support (or other languages, if applicable)?
  • Do you offer 24/7 online account access and management?

Repayment Options

  • Do you provide counseling on deferment and forbearance options?
  • How long can I defer payments on the loan?
  • Do you have online repayment calculators and other online tools available?
  • Do you offer loan consolidation options?
  • Do you offer information to borrowers about effective debt management?

Below are some factors that Santa Clara University considers important when choosing a lender:


Front-end benefits (save at the beginning of your loan): Sometimes origination fees, guarantee fees and processing fees are charged when you first take out a loan. Some lenders charge these fees and others do not. Back-end benefits (save during repayment): Find out if there are ways to reduce costs after the first disbursement or when you start to repay your loan, including a possible reduction in the interest rate or principal loan balance.


Timely and efficient processing of loans, including convenience in the application process for borrowers, and for the institution. Customer service provided during the initial loan process.

Customer Service

Service provided to the borrower and the University from initial contact throughout the life of the loan repayment period. Borrowing from a lender that holds all of their loans and does not sell loans after repayment begins will ensure that you will be dealing with the same company until your loan is paid in full. A lender that services their own loans will ensure that you will be making your payments to the same company that initially funded your loan.


Educational loan resources and other value-added services for borrowers that are fair, competitive, accessible and tailored to the education needs of the borrower.

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