Graduate students are encouraged to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive full consideration for loan options. In most cases, federal loan programs offered to students have the most beneficial terms and conditions. It is in a student's best interest to apply for these loans before exploring other options. Eligibility for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan and Graduate Plus Loan programs require the student to complete a FAFSA.
While the Unsubsidized Direct Loan program is included in a student's financial aid package if the student is eligible, the Graduate Plus Loan and alternative loans are not. Rather, these options are available to students if they need assistance covering the gap between costs and the financial aid package. Students must submit a separate application for the Graduate Plus Loan (to the Student Financial Services Office) or an alternative loan program (to the lender the student chooses).
When choosing a loan program, graduate students should pay close attention to the specific details of the loan. Factors to consider include interest rates, origination fees, and terms of repayment. In addition, students should keep these considerations in mind when determining the amount of a Graduate Plus or alternative loan:
A Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to graduate students enrolled at least half time in a degree or certificate program. This program enables students to borrow from, and repay loans directly to, the U.S. Department of Education through its servicing centers.
The federal government does not pay interest on the loan. While enrolled in school, during grace periods, and during authorized deferment periods, students may either pay the accumulating interest or capitalize the interest. Capitalization means the unpaid interest is added to the principal balance of the loan.
Interest rates for the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan during 2014-2015 is a fixed 6.21% for graduate students. For loans first disbursed prior to 10/01/14, there is a 1.072% origination fee deducted from the proceeds of the loan. If the first disbursement is on or after 10/01/14, the origination fee is 1.073%. Loan funds are disbursed directly to Suffolk University in equal amounts over each term of enrollment for the academic year. First time borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) in order for the loan to be disbursed. There is a six-month grace period prior to repayment following graduation, withdrawal, or a drop below half-time status.
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*Includes undergraduate loans
Federal Direct Loan borrowers can visit the Department of Education’s Direct Loans Online site for general account information, repayment options, and monthly payment calculators, as well as downloadable deferment forms. This site also links to the Direct Loan Consolidation and National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) websites.
To access most of the above features, you will need to use your Department of Education PIN (Personal Identification Number). PIN’s are distributed to students when they file the FAFSA. If you did not receive a PIN or can’t remember yours, you can obtain a new one at the same site.
Remember, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain all deferment information and file the required forms with the appropriate office or agency.
The Office of Financial Aid is required by law to provide Entrance and Exit Loan Counseling for Federal Direct Loan borrowers. If you are a new borrower, entrance counseling must be completed before loan proceeds can be credited to your tuition account. If you withdraw from the University, take a leave of absence, or graduate, you must complete exit counseling. Entrance and exit counseling are conducted at the Office of Student Financial Services. You may also complete either your entrance or exit counseling online.
The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to graduate students only. Students are required to complete a FAFSA and should apply for the maximum amounts available under the Unsubsidized Direct Loan program first. The Graduate PLUS loan requires credit approval the Department of Education. The fixed interest rate for 2014-15 of 7.21%. For loans first disbursed prior to 10/01/14, a 4.288% origination fee is automatically deducted from the loan amount prior to disbursement. If the first disbursement occurs on or after 10/01/14, the origination fee is 4.292. Graduate PLUS loans do not have a grace period.
Repayment begins 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed for the academic year; however, you can postpone repayment while you are enrolled at least half-time. For more information regarding postponing your payments, contact the servicer of your Graduate PLUS loan. Contact information for servicers can be found at www.studentloans.gov.
At Suffolk University we understand that financing a college education is likely to be one of the most significant investments you and your family will make. Students who wish to borrow funds through an alternative loan program are able to borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid. While Suffolk University does not recommend a particular alternative loan program and will certify any loan for which a student meets the eligibility criteria, we encourage you to consider the information below to assist you in choosing the best program for your individual needs.
Once you have successfully exhausted all other funding options, such as federal loans, and are still in need of additional financing, you may want to consider an alternative educational loan. Alternative loans are to be used as supplements to cover the remaining balance AFTER financial aid awards and federal loans.
Alternative student loans, are credit-based loans offered through private lenders or banks. These loans have certain eligibility criteria, primarily, a credit-worthy borrower with verified income is necessary. However, some loans carry additional eligibility requirements, so be sure to check all requirements thoroughly with your lender before choosing a loan product that’s right for you.
There are many alternative loan options available and selecting the best one for you can be overwhelming. First, review the information below before submitting an application to a private lender.
1. Exhaust all other forms of aid prior to borrowing a alternative loan.
As of February 14, 2010, federal regulations were implemented which require lenders to provide more in-depth information on alternative student loans, interest rates, and repayment options. As part of "the Higher Education Opportunity Act," Title X is specifically aimed at private lenders and established new regulations that affect the way you receive, and are approved for, alternative student loans. Listed below are some of these new requirements:
Self Certification Form: As part of the loan application process, student borrowers are now required to complete and return to their lender a self-certification form for each loan application submitted to the Office of Student Financial Services. An approved borrower must fill out a self-certification form (usually provided by the lender) and will be required to provide information on "cost of attendance" and "estimated financial aid,"
To avoid unnecessary delays, be sure to return this form to your lender and not to the Office of Student Financial Services.
Loan Approval Disclosure: Once your loan is approved, your lender will provide you with a statement that includes your interest rate, loan details, and repayment options. Student borrowers are now required to “actively accept” the terms of their loan within 30 calendar days before their school will be notified that school certification is available. The lender’s terms for how to “accept” the loan terms can be found on this disclosure statement.
Right to Cancel: Borrowers and/or cosigners have the right to cancel or rescind a loan offer within three business days after receipt of the Final Disclosure. During this time, the lender cannot disburse loan funds. Be aware the cancellation period cannot be waived in order for funds to disburse more quickly. This may delay the disbursement of loan funds to your student account, so be sure to take it into consideration when estimating the timeline for bill deadlines.
The Office of Student Financial Services will not certify a student’s alternative loan until all required lender documentation is complete. If you have questions regarding the status of your loan applications, please contact your lender.
Suffolk University is committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behavior. Ensuring the integrity of the student financial aid process and programs is critical to providing equity and access to higher education. With the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress required that all colleges post a Code of Conduct relating to financial aid, private lending and student choice. Hence, the staff in the Office of Student Financial Services herein confirms that we adhere to the following sound practices:
I. University employees do not receive any personal benefits from Lending Institutions. No member of the Student Financial Services staff will accept anything of more than a nominal value on his or her behalf of another person or entity from any Lending Institution. For example, cash, stocks, gifts, entertainment, expense-paid trips, etc, will never be accepted from a Lending Institution. Likewise, an individual will never accept payment or reimbursement from a Lending Institution for lodging, meals or travel to conferences or training seminars.
II. The University does not provide any advantage to a Lending Institution. The Staff in the Student Financial Services does not accept anything of value from any Lending Institution in exchange for any advantage or consideration provided to the Lending Institution related to its student loan activities, including, but not limited to revenue-sharing, printing costs or below-cost computer hardware or software. Likewise, the university does not allow any Lending Institution to staff the Student Financial Services Office or the Student Services calling center at any time.
III. The University makes appropriate use of any “Suggested Lender Lists”. The selection of the Lending Institutions for inclusion on the private/alternative loans Suggested Lender List is based solely on the best interests of the university students and their parents without regard to the financial interests of the university. We abide by the following: