Central Piedmont strives to help you finance your education without going into debt. While Central Piedmont previously offered federal loans, the college chose to opt out of the federal direct student loan program at the end of the 2013–14 academic year. Central Piedmont offers many alternative aid options that do not have to be repaid, including scholarships and grants.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 mandated a number of significant changes to provide a significant amount of additional information to families who choose to utilize private educational loans. The regulations change the disclosure requirements for the The Truth in Lending Act for non Title IV education loans made expressly for post-secondary education expenses. A growing number of private lenders are marketing private loans directly to students. These loan programs are set up to totally circumvent the financial aid office. Legitimate lenders should follow basic standards in their dealings with families.
The Department of Education has ruled that these loans must be counted as a resource in determining your eligibility for federal financial aid funds. If we discover you have received one of these loans, the financial aid office will have to adjust your financial aid award to incorporate this loan into your package. This would normally result in the loss of "better" aid funds (need-based grants, scholarships, and government subsidized loans). We strongly encourage you to fully utilize all federal aid programs before turning to private loans. Please speak to a financial aid representative before applying for a private or alternative loan.
Additional Private Loan Considerations
By careful choosing student loans, grants, and scholarships as part of your entire college financial aid package, you can avoid going into heavy debt.
- One Student's Losing Battle With Private Student Loans
- Students Trapped in Private Loans With No Bankruptcy Protection - The Washington Post, April 29, 2010
- Be Wary of Private Student Loans (August 14, 2009)
- FastWeb's How to Minimize Student Loan Debt
- FinAid: The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid provides a comprehensive overview of how these programs generally operate as well as a detailed comparison chart for the major loan programs. Their Loan Analyzer Calculator will help families compare the terms of different loan programs.
- The Greentree Gazette has compiled The Student Loan Buying Guide, a comprehensive database with information on financing options through many major lenders.
- Student Lending Analytics provides a guide each year that breaks down the complexity of alternative loans through a plain English, Q&A format. They also post a series of short articles to help guide students through the loan process.
Applying for Private Loans
In order to receive an alternative loan at Central Piedmont, you will need an approved loan application from an outside lender. You are free to choose any lender which best serves your needs, but you should visit each potential lender's website to fully evaluate the benefits that they offer before choosing a lender. Central Piedmont's Financial Aid Office does not provide a preferred lender list. For your convenience, we have provided the FASTChoice private loan tool to help inform you of borrowing essentials and important repayment information. Once you review the private loan options, a list of lenders will appear so that you can compare each lender.
If you choose to apply for a private or alternative loan, you must meet all of the following requirements before funds will be released:
- have a valid FAFSA on file
- be enrolled at least 6 credit hours in curriculum courses (Corporate and Continuing Education courses are not eligible for certification)
- be maintaining all Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines
- have completed the alternative loan request form on file with the Financial Aid Office (alternative loan request form for parents)
If you are registered for second short session classes and do not meet the credit hour requirement until the beginning of that term, funds will not be available for use until three days prior to the first day of class.
Alternative loan refunds will be released after you have reached the 10% point in at least six credit hours. Please allow up to two weeks for actual processing.
You have the right to cancel your loan up to the 10% point of the semester. Any charges incurred with the school are your responsibility. This includes tuition, fees, books, and any other applicable charges. Review Central Piedmont's Refund Policies for college credit-bearing courses for more information.
If you receive an alternative or private education loan, the award is typically split by semester. You typically receive half of the award at the start of the fall semester and the other half at the start spring semester. Other disbursement arrangements can be made by contacting the Financial Aid Office.