There are other options for student funding available besides a government student loan, private student loans or at the same token alternative student loans. The other student aid options available are scholarships and grants. The great things about college or university scholarships are that you are not required to reimburse the expenses that you have incurred during your years at school. The funds are allocated to you as if these are your own funds. This is a valuable form of student funding especially for students who cannot afford to obtain US government student loans or non government student loans and who desire to earn a degree or diploma yet do not have the financial capacity to do so.
Compare this to other forms of financial assistance such as student loans or federal government loans and you are definitely on a good wicket if you can secure a grant or scholarship. Since grants are especially meant for the financially unprivileged, certain grants exist for underrepresented minority students. There are also some cases where the grant money is exchanged for professional services after graduating. This is common to those students taking up health care professions. The major objective for this is to keep trained professionals in medically underprivileged regions.
This is where acquiring a federal student loan differs from grants; you have a choice of building your career wherever you choose to. The difference between grants, scholarships, student loans and federal government student loans is that grants and scholarships are given to the patron without any expectation of repayment. In this case a grant is a monetary gift from a sponsor. Scholarships on the other hand, are awarded according to the academic merit of the student although it is also a monetary gift.
Start your research while you are still in high school, it is better to apply early as this will give you a head start, since this will allow you to plan your future studies and if you are not fortunate enough to gain a scholarship it will still give you enough time to apply for a government student loan or private student loan.