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Alternative Financial Aid

Explore the options in funding your education.


Alternative Ways to Fund Your College Education

While the typical method of paying for college is submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), federal loans aren’t the best option for everyone. In some cases, federal student aid may not cover all the expenses you need, and some people may not qualify at all. And of course, government-funded loans have to be paid back, and interest rates aren’t always favorable to the recent college grad.

If you’re worried about paying for college and want to explore some options outside of federal student financial aid, Alliant can help. From scholarships to public service opportunities and even tax credits, we’ve rounded up information on a number of alternative financial aid opportunities that can help you pay for school


Private Education Loans

In the event that you need to take out a loan but don’t qualify for federal student aid (FSA), you can find loans outside of federal loans. A wide variety of private loans are available to help meet the cost of your education and there are many sites where students can browse and compare possible private lenders.

International students may visit International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) to learn more about financial aid options for international students in the U.S. and explore options for international student loan programs.


Tax Credit Options

Although it might seem like a small option, don’t overlook the ability of tax credits to help fund your higher education. Unlike deductions, which reduce the amount of taxable income, tax credits reduce the actual amount of income tax you pay each year. Two tax credits are available to help offset the cost of higher education:

  • American Opportunity Credit

    The American Opportunity Tax Credit offers up to $2,500 per eligible student and can be claimed for the first four years of higher education. If the credit brings the amount of taxes that you owe down to 0, up to 40% of the remaining credit ($1,000) can be refunded to you. To qualify for the credit, your household income must be less than $80,000 if filing individually, or $160,000 if filing jointly with a spouse.

  • Lifetime Learning Credit

    The lifetime learning credit is worth up to $2,000 and can be used for undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Unlike the American Opportunity Credit, this tax credit has no limit on the number of years you can claim it. To qualify for the credit, your household income must be $52,000 or less if filing individually, or $104,000 or less if filing jointly with a spouse.


Other Third-Party Payors

  • Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)

    To qualify for DOR, a student will need to provide Authorization for Vocational Rehabilitation Services for every semester/term the student has financial backing.

  • AmeriCorps: Corporation for National and Community Services

    To qualify, students must sign into their AmeriCorps account and follow the steps to request their award for Alliant. Once the request is completed, a copy will be sent directly to Alliant for approval. View the Education Award FAQs.

  • Employer Tuition Assistance, Foreign Embassy Funding, Other Direct Payments

    To qualify, a letter of financial guarantee must be provided by the third-party sponsor prior to the beginning of the semester. The student name, timeline guarantee, amount payable, invoice address or email, and contact information must be included.


Veteran Benefits and Military Assistance

Learn more about resources for veterans, active duty military, reserve, National Guard, and military-affiliated students.



Public Service Opportunities

We have compiled a list of organizations within the U.S. that offer student financial aid in exchange for a public service commitment.




Alliant scholarships assist eligible students in making their education affordable so they can focus on their goals.