Student Loans in Alaska
Qualify for a Loan in Your State
The student loan landscape is dominated by large-scale federal financial aid programs designed to reach as many needy college students as possible. While federal lending programs are generous, and far-reaching, they do not always cover a student’s entire tuition obligation. To make up the difference between actual college costs, and the amounts awarded under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, students turn to supplemental sources, to borrow additional cash.
Private student loans provide workable solutions for needy students, but they do not carry the same terms as student-friendly federal options. And personal loans require applicants to submit strong credit histories, and evidence of successful interactions with creditors. States also get in on the act, providing their own brands of economic relief for college students. These supplemental state-backed initiatives provide valuable funding, which often carries long-term fixed-interest rates.
The state of Alaska manages state student loans through the Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education. A number of alternative student loans are also made available to qualified Alaska students of higher education.
Alaska’s Supplemental Student Loan
Many state guaranty agencies, like the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, have established their own alternative loan funds. Traditionally, college students have chosen from federal loans and private loans, so state efforts are right on-time for needy students. Alaska Supplemental Education Loans serve in-state attendees and Alaska resident-students matriculating at out-of-state institutions of higher education.
Current interest rates hover around 7%, which provides a competitive alternative to some market rates. Student-borrowers are eligible for as much as $6500 annually, which is dispensed based on actual costs of attendance and other financial metrics. Application requires students to submit Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) results, to be evaluated by state officials and campus financial aid administrators.
Additional Eligibility Criteria
Students enrolled in professional programs, four-year undergraduate degree programs, or graduate degree tracks of study are all invited to apply. These are credit-based loans, so you must submit to a credit check when you apply. If you do not qualify based on bad credit, or insufficient credit, you may secure a co-borrower or co-signor to help you qualify for the loan. The chosen individual must have good credit, and his or her debt-to-income ratio may not exceed a certain percentage. Successful applicants are also:
- High School graduates, or equivalent
- Enrolled half-time (minimum)
- Not in default on previously issued student loans
- Residents of Alaska at the time of application
Special Loan Programs
The Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education also administers special loans targeting students enrolled in academic programs relating to certain subjects. In all cases, loan applicants are required to submit to formal credit checks:
- The A.W. Brindle Memorial Education Loan is designed for Alaska students pursuing degree programs that are “fisheries related.” This is a low-interest loan with a waiver attached, for those students who comply with all the eligibility criteria.
- The next generation of criminologists and law enforcement personnel may be eligible for the Michael Murphy Memorial Education Loan. The low-interest, competitive private loan program support education for State Troopers and other personnel. Students who meet all eligibility requirements may qualify for loan waivers, in exchange for service.
- The Professional Student Exchange Loan Program is designed to make Alaska institutions of education more affordable for out-of-state students pursuing a number of “professional” programs in Alaska. Students at Alaska colleges and universities, who are enrolled in dental, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacy, and related programs, may be approved for low-interest loans. While these out-of-state students pay in-state rates, the state-backed loan program pays the balance of the tuition to the institution.
- The Alaska Teacher Education Loan is administered like many other state program that offer loan forgiveness for students who enter certain academic programs. Participants borrow low-interest educational funding, which qualifies for total forgiveness when graduates go-on to work in Alaska, teaching critical shortage subjects, in critical needs areas. Qualified applicants are Alaska residents.
Consolidate Alaska Student Loans
Students with more than one outstanding federal loan are allowed to consolidate their outstanding debt into a single Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. By bundling loans, students realize the convenience of a single mo0nthly payment, but additional benefits are also attained by some borrowers. Lower interest-rates and favorable repayment plans enable these students to stay current on federal student loan payments.
The State of Alaska operates a similar initiative for state students holding multiple ACPE Loans. The Alternative Consolidation Loan places outstanding student debt under a single fixed-rate umbrella, streamlining repayment and keeping Alaska borrowers on track.