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Graduate students may apply for two different types of federal loans. Click on the links below to learn more about the requirements and benefits of each one.
The U.S. Department of Education administers the Federal Direct Loan Program more commonly known as the Stafford loan program. To be eligible a student must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. This loan has a six-month grace period after graduation or after the student drops below half-time status. The repayment period on average is ten years. Loan amounts are divided and disbursed per semester. The aggregate Graduate student limit (total amount a student can borrow while a graduate student) for a student is capped at $138,500 (includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study). The interest rate for Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan disbursed prior to July 1, 2014 is 5.41% fixed for the life of the loan. The fixed interest rate for a Federal Unsubsidized Loan disbursed after July 1, 2014 is 6.21%. Interest WILL accrue on the loan while the student is in-school, and during grace and deferment periods. Borrowers can choose to make interest payments by checking off the appropriate box on the Master Promissory Note: You may choose to capitalize the interest (add interest charges to the amount owed) but this will significantly increase the total amount of your debt burden at repayment. See loan limits below. Students must file a FAFSA and the Wheelock College Application for Graduate Financial Aid to be eligible for a Stafford loan.
Every Federal Stafford Loan has an origination fee, set by the U.S. Department of Education, subtracted from the amount borrowed. Loan fees vary based on the date of disbursement:
- First Disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014: Fees are 1.072%, and they are subtracted from amount borrowed, for example a $10,250 loan will credit as $10,140 to the student's account ($10,250 - 1.072% = $10,140).
- First Disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 and before October 1,2015: Fees are 1.073%, and they are subtacted from amount borrowed, for example a $10,250 loan will credit as $10,140 to the student's account ($10,250 - 1.073% = $10,140).
The annual loan limit for graduate students remains unchanged at $20,500, but this amount is limited to Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
The Department of Education sets annual and aggregate (i.e. lifetime) limits on the amount of debt a student can obtain from the federal government. The chart below summarizes the current limits for the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
Maximum lifetime Stafford borrowing
$138,500-No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in Subsidized* loan.
Instructions to Complete Your Federal Stafford Loan Online
Students who borrow a Federal Stafford loan for the first time at Wheelock College must complete mandatory Entrance Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before receiving the first disbursement of any loan proceeds. Please see below for the instructions. If you do not complete this process, it is assumed that you will not plan to borrow with this loan and it will be canceled.
- Entrance Loan Counseling: go to http://studentloans.gov. Click on the green "Sign In" button. Once you have signed in, click on the link to "Complete Entrance Counseling", and proceed to follow the instructions. *** Please note that your FAFSA PIN number is required. If you do not have a PIN, you can go to www.pin.ed.gov.
- Master Promissory Note (MPN): go to http://studentloans.gov. Click on the green "Sign In" button. Once you have signed in, click on the link to "Complete Master Promissory Note." Then click on "Subsidized/Unsubsidized" and proceed to follow the instructions. *** Please note that your FAFSA PIN number is required. If you do not have a PIN, you can go to www.pin.ed.gov.
Federal Graduate and Professional Student PLUS loan
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed interest rate, federally guaranteed credit-based loan program that enables graduate students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help pay for their educational expenses. Student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and must be making satisfactory academic progress towards a degree. Eligibility is based on credit worthiness. The interest rate on a PLUS Loan disbursed prior to July 1, 2014 is fixed at 6.41%. The interest rate on a PLUS Loan disbursed after July 1, 2014 is fixed at 7.21%. This rate is determined by the federal government.
Every Federal PLUS Loan has an origination fee, set by the U.S. Department of Education, subtracted from the amount borrowed. Loan fees vary based on the date of disbursement:
- First Disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014: Fees are 4.288%, and they are subtracted from the amount borrowed, for example a $10,000 loan will credit as $9,571 to the student's account ($10,000 - 4.288% = $9,571).
- First Disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 and before October 1, 2015: Fees are 4.292% and they are subtracted from the amount borrowed, for example a $10,000 loan will credit as $9,571 to the student's account ($10,000 - 4.292% = $9,571).
How to Apply:
To apply online please go to studentloans.gov. Click on the green "Sign In" button. Once you have signed in, click on the "Request a Direct PLUS Loan". Scroll to the bottom of the page that comes up, then click on "Graduate PLUS".
When considering a PLUS loan, keep the following points in mind:
- Student must be credit worthy, as determined by the absence of adverse credit on credit history, approval is not based on income or debt-to-income ratio as with many other loans. Students unable to meet the PLUS Loan credit criteria may be able to borrow with a creditworthy "endorser". The endorser cannot be released from the repayment obligation before the loan is repaid in full.
- Applicants may borrow up to the cost of attendance (this includes tuition, room and board, books, and other miscellaneous fees) less other financial aid.
- Most PLUS loans are made to cover fall and spring semester costs. The loan funds are disbursed (minus fees) in two equal payments, 1/2 for the fall semester and 1/2 for the spring semester.
- The standard repayment term is 10 years.
- Repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed, but may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. During the deferment period interest can be paid monthly, quarterly, or capitalized quarterly.
- If a PLUS is borrowed and the borrower is subsequently totally, permanently disabled, or deceased, the loan is forgiven.
- A PLUS Loan can also provide tax savings and incentives.
Get more information: http://studentaid.ed.gov