Student loans are a serious, long-term commitment. Apply for grants and scholarships first, to keep loan borrowing to a minimum. Students are expected to pay back loans in full, even if they don't graduate. Consider current debt and future borrowing needs when requesting loan applications.
Dependent students can borrow up to
Independent students (or dependent students whose parents are unable to get PLUS Loans), may be able borrow up to an additional $4000 unsubsidized loan.
The loan repayment process begins 6 months after students graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status.
Subsidized loans are awarded on the basis of financial need. Interest is not charged. The federal government "subsidizes" the interest during the period of enrollment.
Unsubsidized loans are not awarded on the basis of need, but cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance, including financial aid and other resources. Interest is charged from the time loans are disbursed until paid in full. Students can "capitalize" the interest which means that interest will be deferred and added to the principal amount of the loan, which will increase the loan amount to be repaid.
PLUS Loans enable parents to borrow to pay educational expenses of children who are dependent undergraduate students enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Parents will be required to pass a credit check.
The yearly limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to the student's Cost of Attendance minus any financial aid or other resources received. Parents must also meet citizenship requirements and may not be in default or owe a refund to any Student Financial Aid program. If parents are denied the PLUS Loan, students may be eligible for an additional $4,000 in Unsubsidized Loan money. Documentation is required.
Alternative loans exist as an additional means to pay for a college education. These loans are often used as a supplement to existing financial aid packages, or for students ineligible for federal and/or state financial aid.
Alternative loans come from banks or lenders. They are personal loans used for educational expenses. Students may choose to use any lender. The ability to obtain alternative loans is largely based on creditworthiness and current aggregate indebtedness. Having a creditworthy co-signer may decrease the fees and/or interest rate.
Students can borrow any amount up to the difference between financial aid received
and the cost of attendance established by the Financial Aid Office. It usually takes
two to three weeks for an alternative loan to be processed and pay your student account.
Most alternative loan certifications are processed online. A Financial Aid counselor will certify alternative loans at the request of lenders or students. Students should notify the financial aid office when applications have been initiated.