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 or certificate 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. Students must file a FAFSA and the Wheelock College Application for Graduate Financial Aid to be eligible for a Stafford loan. Most students are eligible for an unsubsidized loan for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The annual loan limit for graduate students remains unchanged at $20,500, but this amount is limited to Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Eligible students who have completed the FAFSA for the appropriate academic year are automatically evaluated for the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Interest WILL accrue on the loan while the student is in-school, and during grace and deferment periods. The interest rate is 6.8% fixed for the life of the loan. Fees are 1.051%, and they are subtracted from amount borrowed, for example a $10,200 loan will credit as $10,093 to the student's account ($10,200 - 1.051% =$10,093). Loan limits are shown below. 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.
Federal Stafford Loan Limits
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 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 cancelled.
- 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 loan program that enables graduate students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help pay for their educational expenses. Eligibility is based on credit worthiness. When considering a Grad PLUS loan, keep the following points in mind:
- The Interest rate on a Grad PLUS Loan is fixed at 7.9%. This rate is determined by the federal government.
- Students who borrow the Grad PLUS loan must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and max out the Stafford Loan first.
- An Origination/Guarantee fee of 4.204% will be assessed. Thus the net loan amount disbursed is approximately 4.0204% less than the amount borrowed.
Student requests to borrow: $1,000
The lender will subtract 4.204% for the Origination and Guarantee fees: $42.04
Total amount applied to student's Wheelock account: $1000 - $42.04 = $957.96
- Student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, must be making satisfactory academic progress towards a degree, and must be enrolled at least half-time.
- Student must have an absence of adverse credit on credit history (i.e., no more than 90 days late on any debt and no defaults, bankruptcies or other adverse action on any Title IV debt).
- Approval is not based on income or debt-to-income ratio as with many private loans.
- With the Grad PLUS a parent may be added to the loan as an endorser if the student has an adverse credit history or if the parent wants to help pay for the loan.
- Students may borrow up to the cost of attendance (this includes tuition, room and board, books, and other miscellaneous fees) less other financial aid.
- The loan funds are disbursed (minus fees) in equal payments divided by number of terms student is enrolled at least half-time.
- Grad PLUS loans can be consolidated with other federal education loans, such as the Stafford and Perkins loans. Private loans cannot.
- 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.
- A Grad PLUS Loan can also provide tax savings and incentives. Students should check with a tax advisor to determine their eligibility.
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".