Alternative loan options narrowed

Katie Greenwald

Students have the choice between Key Bank and Citibank for their alternative loan options beginning this summer.

These two banks will be Kent State’s preferred lenders, said Mark Evans, director of student financial aid.

“Many of our students are already using these two banks,” Bursar Leslie Carter said.

However, students who have alternative loans, or non-governmental loans, from other lenders may not have to give up their loans in exchange for a Key Bank or Citibank loan.

Students who have a long-term relationship with another lender, or have been denied a loan from these two banks, may be able to use another lender for alternative loans, said Jeannette Jones, associate director of Student Financial Aid.

“It’s on a case-by-case basis as they contact us,” she said.

That’s comforting to Trudy Cantwell, junior photo illustration major, who heard a rumor last week she may not be able to keep her alternative loan from another lender.

“The initial statement surprised me,” she said. “I did feel strongly about it when I thought it was a problem.”

But now she realizes it probably won’t be a problem and feels neutral about the partnership.

Jones said the office has sent letters to students who have alternative loans from other lenders, and now it’s up to students to contact the office if they want to keep their existing loan, or apply for a loan from another lender.

The preferred lender program was set up to be a convenience to students and administration, Evans said.

He said the office wanted to “streamline alternative loan processing.”

Key Bank and Citibank loan processing will be electronic. With these banks, a loan can be processed in days instead of weeks, Evans said.

Citibank and Key Bank operate on electronic systems that work well with Kent State’s system. Evans said there are dozens of alternative lenders out there, and they all operate on different systems.

If students prefer Key Bank and Citibank, processing will be more efficient, Evans said.

The reason these two banks have been chosen as the preferred lenders are because their interest rates are competitive, they have no fees and their reputations are good.

“If you look at the top 10 universities in Ohio, these two lenders are on everybody’s Web pages,” Evans said.

He added that their interest rates are subject to change quarterly.

The university will be in the partnership with the banks for at least two years but will not receive financial benefits from the contract.

“The goal is to provide access, not to deny access,” Evans said.

This program is different from the Kent Opportunity Loan that the Daily Kent Stater reported about Friday.

The Kent Opportunity Loan is a program set up with Key Bank to assist students who have at least a 2.5 GPA, have earned at least 24 credit hours and have exhausted all other options for paying for tuition, according to a press release from April 20.

Information on Key Bank and Citibank’s alternative loans can be found at and

Contact finance reporter Katie Greenwald at [email protected].