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Financial Aid

Loan Borrowing

Be sure you ask all the right questions when you consider borrowing an alternative loan.

It is difficult to compare the various alternative loan programs offered because they each differ in features and methods used to assess costs. Certainly cost is a major factor. However, cost is not the only issue, and potential borrowers will want to review the specific features available for each loan under consideration, including the opportunity for deferment or the options for repayment period length. These considerations can affect the affordability of the loan.

It is also important to understand the eligibility criteria. There is no point incurring an application fee cost for a loan that will ultimately be denied due to lack of a co-signer or failure of creditworthiness.

Questions to ask to help you evaluate an alternative loan program

The Loan Program:

  • What is the name of the loan program?
  • What is the name of the lender sponsor (bank), address, phone number?
  • Who services the loan?
  • How long does it take to process the loan?
  • Who can the borrower call or write with questions or problems?

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Who is eligible to borrow the loan: student, parent? Does the applicant have to be creditworthy?
  • Is a co-signer required? Does the co-signer have to be creditworthy?
  • What are the enrollment requirements (undergraduate, graduate; full or part time; in degree program or just taking courses)?
  • Are there any other eligibility requirements that could affect the student (citizenship, for past or just current bills)?

Loan Amounts:

  • What is the maximum loan per year?
  • Does need or other aid have to be taken into consideration?
  • What is the minimum loan?
  • What is the aggregate amount that may be borrowed (for multiple years)?

Borrowing terms:

  • How is interest determined: fixed or variable rate; formula used?
  • Is there an interest rate cap?
  • How frequently is the interest rate adjusted?
  • What is the current interest rate? When will it be adjusted again?
  • What other fees are charges (application , origination, guarantee, insurance)?
  • Are fees added to the loan balance or deducted from the loan fees?
  • What is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

Application processing:

  • Where do I get an application?
  • Is school certification required?
  • Do I apply by mail, phone, fax, or the Internet?
  • What is the application renewal process for additional years?
  • Does the loan need to be secured, or is it unsecured (with a borrower asset)?

Loan disbursement:

  • When are the loan proceeds given to the student: all at once or each term?
  • Where are the loan proceeds sent to the borrower or to the school?
  • Is the loan disbursement made payable solely to the borrower or co-payable to the school?
  • In what form will the proceeds be delivered to the school: check or electronic fund transfer?


  • Is interest deferred while the borrower is enrolled?
  • Is the principal repayment deferred while the borrower in enrolled?
  • When does repayment begin and what are the monthly payments? How long is the repayment period?
  • What repayment options are there: fixed or graduated schedules; interest only or interest and principal?
  • What is the interest capitalization policy? When is this done and how often?
  • Can the loan be consolidated with other loans?
  • What privileges are there for deferments and forbearance: situations available and length of time?

Unique features:

  • What sets this loan apart from all others?
  • Are there features that are offered up front, such as reduced fees or interest rate for certain conditions?
  • Are there features offered on the back end (when repayent begins), such as direct repayment from checking or on-time payment incentives to reduce interest rate charged?
  • Is it possible to arrange for a multiple year loan?
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

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    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

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    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

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    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

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    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …