Loans 101: Getting Started
The loan process can often be confusing to students and families. We’ve created a one-stop resource for you to learn more about the ins and outs of different types of loans, applying for loans, accepting or declining your loans, how PLUS and private loans work, and more!
Direct Student Loans
What is a Federal Direct Student loan? The Direct Student loan is a low-interest loan designed to provide students with additional funds to assist in paying for education costs not covered by other sources of financial aid. The interest rate for these loans will reset each year on July 1st and is based upon the 10-year Treasury Bill rate plus 2.05% The federal government also charges an origination fee of ~1%.
Are all Direct Student loans the same? There are two types of Direct Student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. The subsidized loan is based on financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal government pays the interest while you are in school, during your grace period, and during any authorized deferment periods. The unsubsidized loan is not based on need, which means students at any income level can qualify. Interest will accrue while in school, during your grace period, and during any authorized deferment periods. The student has the option of paying the interest while in school.
Am I eligible for a Direct Student loan? If you received a financial aid award that included a Federal Direct Student Loan, you are eligible.
When do these loans go into repayment? Repayment begins 6 months after you graduate, leave school, or cease to be enrolled at least half-time.
Please note: In order to receive a Direct Student loan, you will need to complete the online Master Promissory Note and Entrance Interview.
What is a Federal Direct PLUS Loan? The Direct PLUS Loan is a federally sponsored education loan offered to parents of enrolled students. The interest rate for these loans will reset each year on July 1st and is based upon the 10-year Treasury Bill rate plus 4.6%. The federal government also charges an origination fee of ~4.2%. The standard repayment period is 10 years, but there is no penalty for early payoff.
Can I defer payments? While some parents choose to begin repayment immediately, others delay repayment while the student is enrolled in school. The Parent PLUS Loan can be a flexible option for parents to help cover their child's college expenses.
What if my application is not approved? If your application is denied, you will be given the options of getting an endorser, appealing the decision, or simply letting the decision stand. If you choose to let the decision stand, your student may be eligible for up to $4,000 (freshmen and sophomores) or $5,000 (juniors and seniors) in additional unsubsidized Direct Student Loan.
What is a Private Loan? Private loans are credit-based loans offered by private banks and credit unions. The loan is in the student's name but a creditworthy cosigner is usually required for undergraduate students. Interest rates, student eligibility and repayment terms vary among lenders. Students may request loan amounts up to the cost of education less financial aid (please refer to your financial aid award to help determine the amount you need to request). The student and cosigner are equally responsible for repayment.
Can I defer payments? Payments are not required while the student is enrolled, but interest will accrue during that time.
- Loan Reduction or Cancellation Request Form
- National Student Loan Data System
- Access Your Free Credit Report