So you're about to go back to school and you're in search of alternative college loans and other kinds of college loan financing that can help you pay for college. The good news is that there are a number of college financing options available to you if you are willing to put yourself out there and apply for some of them. Alternative college loans come in many shapes and sizes depending on how you look at it, and they can range from private college loans, to institutional loans, to need-based loans that can be provided by the government.

Most students are aware of the more conventional college loans that almost every student applies for—Stafford federal loans, Perkins federal loans, and PLUS loans are all loans supplied by the government to college students who apply via a FAFSA application. If you sent in your FAFSA on time—free application for student aid, then you made yourself eligible to receive such college financing, and the majority of college students across the nation take advantage of one of these types of loans on some level.

The problem arises if you don't have enough to pay for the remainder of your education. These kinds of federal loans can provide a significant portion of your cost of attendance but they often cannot provide the complete cost of attending a four-year university. This is where an alternative college loan can really come in and save the day if you don't have the out-of-pocket cash to cover the remaining costs after you have received your federal college loans.

There are all sorts of college loans out there, but when I think of alternative college loans I primarily think of two kinds of student loans, and these are alternative private college loans, and specialty college loans. These kinds of alternative student loans can provide the necessary capital you need to go back to school without having to go into other forms of debt such as credit card debt or having to resort to asking for more money from your parents.

First we have the alternative private college loans, which can provide an enormous amount of additional financing if you so choose to accept such an award. Private college loans can be applied for one of two ways—they can either be applied for indirectly via your FAFSA, or they can be applied for directly by identifying a lending institution that offers private college loans for students attending university. If you sent in your FAFSA then your college probably returned an award letter at some point during the springtime, and in that award letter might have been a number of private loans. You can either accept these private loans yourself or you can decline them in favor of locating a private student loan lender on your own. This is totally up to you and many times it is wise to accept the financing that your school sent because often the private loans your school sets you up with will be easier to qualify for than if you went out and applied to lenders directly at your own discretion.

If you have exhausted your private college loan financing options and you are still in search of alternative financing then you may be able to qualify for what are called specialty college loans. If you are enrolled in an eligible degree program, if you are from a particular decent or race, or if you are willing to work in certain rural areas across the country then there is a good chance that you would be able to secure this kind of alternative financing if you are willing to put yourself out there and apply. The best way to find these sorts of college loans is to either ask your college guidance counselor or to do some digging online. Once you have found a specialty loan that you can qualify for then it is simply a matter of applying and waiting for the answer. As long as you keep looking for your aid you will eventually find it somehow so stay persistent and keep searching.

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