Loans for Graduate Students
Federal Stafford Loan
Graduate students are eligible for Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year. Loan disbursements are split equally over the semesters in an academic year. For example, if you are planning to attend fall and spring semester, you will receive two loan disbursements: one for fall and one for spring. If you are attending fall, spring, and summer semesters you will receive three equal disbursements.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are awarded regardless of a student's demonstrated financial need. These loans accrue interest while you're in school and generate interest charges as soon as they are disbursed. The interest charges may be deferred during enrollment (at least half-time) and deferment periods, but they will be capitalized (added to the outstanding loan balance).
All Federal Stafford Loans may be subject to an origination (1.5%) and insurance fee of up to 2.5%, taken from the value of the loan at the time it is disbursed to the school. The loan amount listed above and on Financial Aid Award Notices represent the gross amount of the loan (amount before fees have been paid). The Higher Education Reconciliation Act will adjust Stafford Loan origination fees according to the chart below:
Loan repayment begins 6 months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. Repayment will initially be scheduled for fixed monthly payments over a 10 year period. Other repayment options are also available.
Apply for a Federal Stafford Loan
Complete the following steps to apply for a Federal Stafford Loan:
Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
The Federal PLUS Loan is available to Graduate students with a yearly maximum equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. To be eligible, a credit check is required to determine that an applicant does not have an adverse credit history. Other requirements include completion of a FAFSA, half-time enrollment (4-6 credit hours) and you must have applied for your annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate PLUS loan. Federal PLUS Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2006 have a fixed interest rate of 7.9% for graduate students. The loans may also be subject to an origination (1.704%) and insurance (2.5%) fee, taken from the value of the loan at the time it is disbursed to the school. Borrowers should consider the fees charged by each lender when choosing a loan provider.
Applying for a Federal PLUS Loan
Complete the following steps to apply for a Federal PLUS Loan:
1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Alternative Educational Loans
Alternative student loans are private loans offered to students to assist with educational expenses. Since the loans are privately funded, the terms and conditions will vary based on the lender. This also means that interest rates and fees are not federally regulated and are therefore set by the individual lenders. Students are highly encouraged to carefully review the details of private loans before applying. Eligibility for an alternative student loan is determined by the lender. In most cases, a student will need a co-signer in order to be approved. Once the loan has been approved by the lender, Westminster's Financial Aid Office will need to certify the loan amount.
Alternative Loan Amounts
The amount available to be borrowed in alternative loan funding will vary by student. The certified loan amount cannot exceed the student's Cost of Attendance less any other financial aid received. If the amount approved by the lender is higher than the allowable maximum, it will be reduced by the school.
Applying for an Alternative Loan
Students should contact the lender of their choice for application instructions. Most lenders have online applications. We advise students to pursue all other sources of funding before applying for an alternative loan. Please be sure to carefully review all terms and conditions before completing an application.