Investing in your future is money well spent. The federal government offers several loan programs for students who are seeking financial assistance to attend college. Students interested in participating in any of the loan programs must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form annually for each year they attend school, meet the financial need requirements, be in good academic standing and have achieved satisfactory academic progress. Unlike grants and scholarships, college loans will need to be repaid once you earn your degree.
Loans (Aid that must be repaid)
While student loans generally have low interest rates and potentially have long-term repayment plans, students should borrow only what they need to cover educational costs. The student should also take time to research financial literacy and the impact that student loans can have on future income, so that they can make an educated decision on what represents a manageable level of debt upon graduation. Loans must be repaid even if the student does not complete their education, are not able to get a job after they complete their program or are dissatisfied with the education for which they paid.
The chart below shows both dependent and independent loan limits, along with the lifetime amounts.
*If the parent borrower is denied a Direct Parent PLUS loan, the dependent student may be eligible for an additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan. However, if the parent borrower is later approved for the Direct PLUS loan, or another parent borrower is later approved, the dependent student will no longer be eligible for the additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
The U.S. Department of Education pays interest on these loans while you are enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) and during the 6-month grace period. This is a need-based loan and students must have unmet need as determined by their FAFSA. Some students are also subject to the Subsidized loan limit, commonly known as SULA (Subsidized Usage Limit Applies). It refers to the regulation that limits the amount of time (measured in academic years) a student may receive Direct Subsidized Loans. The regulation applies to students who are considered first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” Your maximum eligibility period is generally based on the published length of your current program.
For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of 4 years = 6 years).
Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current program of study, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the Direct Subsidized Loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period.
If this applies to you, the Department of Education will track your enrollment, the length of the program in which you are enrolled and the number of academic years in which you borrow a Direct Subsidized Loan. If you do not complete your program within 150 percent of the length of the program, then you may lose the interest subsidies on your subsidized loan(s) and your interest may begin to accrue as though it were an unsubsidized loan.
Maximum award: $3,500 for the first year.
Unsubsidized loans accrue interest. This means interest is added to the loan while you are in school enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours). The entire loan amount, plus all of the accumulated interest, must be paid back beginning six months after you graduate or if you drop below half-time (6 credit hours) status.
· First-year dependent students: Up to $5,500
· First-year independent students: Up to $9,500
· Second-year dependent students: Up to $6,500
· Second-year independent students: Up to $10,500
· Third- and fourth-year dependent students: Up to $7,500
· Third- and fourth-year independent students: Up to $12,500
The Parent/Grad Plus loan is a government-backed, no collateral necessary loan available to parents of dependent undergraduate students and independent graduate students. The Parent/Grad Plus loan is not need based but requires credit approval. Repayment of the Parent/Grad Plus loan begins 60 days after the second disbursement has been sent to the college. Parents and graduate students interested in a Plus loan must apply by going to www.studentaid.gov Each parent and graduate student must also complete the master promissory note and entrance counseling.
Maximum award: Up to cost of attendance, less other aid.
Students who are not eligible to receive federal direct loans can apply for an alternative or private educational loan. Students must select a bank and complete the bank’s online application and credit check. Alternative and private loans are credit-based and students who plan to apply for private education loans should review their credit report since credit worthiness is a requirement for these funds.
Maximum award: Up to cost of attendance, less financial aid.
Have questions about student loans or want to learn more about the loan programs through the federal government ? Contact our financial aid office.
How to reach us:
Phone: 1. 866.6VAUGHN, extension 100
When to see us:
Financial Aid Office Hours
Mondays through Thursdays: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fridays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Federal regulations require schools to prorate the Direct Loan amounts for graduating undergraduate students when their final period of enrollment is less than a full academic year (fall-only, spring-only, or summer-only). The loan limit proration determines the maximum loan amount that a student may borrow for the final term of study based on the degree they are earning.
Graduating undergraduate students who are only attending one semester of the academic year will have their Direct Loans prorated based on the actual number of credit hours they are enrolled.
Note: Graduate and professional students are excluded from the loan proration requirement
All students must complete an annual student loan acknowledgment each year you accept a federal student loan. If this is your first time accepting a federal student loan, you are acknowledging that you understand your responsibility to repay your loan.
If you have existing federal student loans, you are acknowledging that you understand how much you owe and how much more you can borrow. This will need to be completed each year by going to www.studentaid.gov