Alternative Loans and Financing

In addition to federal and university loans, there are other alternative loans and financing options to consider.

Cornell Installment Plan

The Cornell Installment Plan (CIP), also known as the Full-Service Payment Plan, administered by Cashnet, enables students and their families to make monthly installments to cover each semester's tuition and expenses. Learn more about the Cornell Installment Plan.

Private loans

Private lenders can also provide student and parent loans to help cover education expenses. Cornell cannot recommend any particular lender, but we encourage you to compare lenders and loan terms to select the lender that best fits your needs. Students are responsible for researching and applying for their alternative loan. You may borrow up to the total cost of attendance, less any financial aid. To get you started, we've put together a few important questions to ask potential lenders:

  • What is the interest rate? Is it fixed or variable, and how is it determined?
  • How often is the interest rate adjusted?
  • How much are the origination fees, and how are they charged?
  • Will I have to pay interest while enrolled in school?
  • When does the interest start to accrue, and will it be capitalized?
  • What are the minimum and maximum loan limits?
  • Under what circumstances would a co-signer be required?

  • When does repayment start, and is there a grace period before repayment begins?
  • What is the monthly minimum payment?
  • What is the maximum repayment period?
  • Am I allowed to pay the interest while I’m in school?
  • Are there any loan repayment benefits or reductions? If so, will they remain if a future payment is late?
  • Is the loan eligible for consolidation?
  • Can I defer repayment of the loan if I go to graduate school?
  • Do you apply any penalties or charges for prepayments or early payoff?

  • How are the loan proceeds disbursed?
  • Must I establish financial need for the loan?
  • Do you sell your loans? If so, do the benefits go with them?
  • Under what conditions would I qualify for cancellation, discharge, or forgiveness of the loan?
  • Does the lender provide a toll-free phone number or website to ask questions as they arise?

If you choose a fall/spring loan term period, the amount of the loan will be split equally between the two semesters; so the disbursement of a $10,000 fall/spring loan would be $5,000 for the fall semester and $5,000 for the spring semester. Once the loan is certified, the loan period cannot be changed to fall only or spring only. If you need more loan assistance, you will need to apply for an additional loan.

Students who applied for a fall only loan to cover fall expenses, should choose a spring only loan when applying for a loan to cover spring expenses. The Spring application will be available to you in mid to late November.

  • Fall/Spring: August - May
  • Fall only: August - December
  • Spring only: January - May
  • Summer only: May - August

Historical Lending List

Below are lenders that Cornell undergraduates have used in the past three years. The contact information is provided as a service and not as an endorsement of the lender. You may choose one of these or any other lender of your choice. We recommend you apply with a qualified co-signer to assist with approval and potentially qualify for a lower interest rate.

Learn about the advantages of taking federal student loans over private, non-federal loans.