Our office recognizes that students may need to rely on a variety of resources to assist them in paying for their education expenses. This page outlines several education loan options. As you consider the educational loans available for each program, be sure to keep in mind that some loans are more expensive than others. Generally, Federal Stafford Direct Loans should be considered first as they provide the best terms, conditions and benefits. They also have fixed interest rates and do not require a credit check. Alternative loans, both federal and private, should generally be used once other options have been exhausted, as they may have higher variable interest rates, less favorable terms and conditions and often have stricter qualifying criteria that requires a credit check.
When reviewing loan options, pay particular attention to the interest rates, fees and repayment terms before making any decisions.
Undergraduate financial aid for our online programs consists of loans and possibly the Federal Pell Grant. Grants are need-based and considered "gift aid." Repayment is not required for grants.
Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who have demonstrated financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The government pays the interest on the subsidized loan as long as the student continues to stay enrolled at least half-time. The government will stop paying the interest when the student drops below half-time, graduates or stops attending school.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who have no demonstrated need as determined by the FAFSA. The student is responsible to pay the interest while in school and during their grace period. If the student does not pay the interest, the interest continues to accrue and will capitalize.
|Year||Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)||Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)|
|First-year undergraduate annual loan limit||$5,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$9,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans|
|Second-year undergraduate annual loan limit||$6,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$10,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans|
|Third-year and beyond undergraduate annual loan limit||$7,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$12,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans|
Loan Fees & Interest Rates
The only fees associated with the federal loans are disbursement fees. These amounts are deducted from the loan at each disbursement. The current disbursement fees for the subsidized and unsubsidized loans are 1.059% and the Parent PLUS loan is 4.236%.
The interest rates are fixed at 2.75% as of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
Federal Pell Grants are from the federal government and range from $650-$6,195* for the year. The amount of a Pell Grant is based on your expected family contribution (EFC), cost of attendance and enrollment status. Pell Grants are for undergraduate students only. If a student has already earned a bachelor's degree they are not eligible.
*Current maximum authorized by Congress for the 2020-21 year
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who have no demonstrated need as determined by the FAFSA. The student is responsible to pay the interest while in school and during their grace period. If the student does not pay the interest, the interest continues to accrue and will capitalize. The maximum loan amount per academic year is $20,500 (determination of eligibility based on the cost of attendance, which includes enrollment and housing plans).
Graduate PLUS Loans are available to students who have had a credit check and have been found to be credit worthy. These loans are borrowed in excess of the $20,500 unsubsidized loan to help with additional education related expenses.
Loan Fees & Interest Rates
The only fees associated with the federal loans are disbursement fees. These amounts are deducted from the loan at each disbursement. The current disbursement fees for the unsubsidized loans are 1.059% and the Graduate PLUS loan is 4.236%.
The interest rate for the unsubsidized loan is fixed at 4.3% as of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
The interest rate for the PLUS loan is fixed at 5.3% as of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
We strongly encourage students to exhaust their Federal Stafford Direct loan options prior to considering these loans due to the higher rates, fees, terms and conditions that usually accompany private loans.
What to know about Alternative Loans?
- The interest rates are typically variable and are tied to Prime, LIBOR or Treasury bill rate
- Borrower eligibility, co-signer requirements, interest rates, maximum loan levels and repayment options vary
- These loans are generally based on an individual's credit score/history
- These types of loans may also assist students who are enrolled less than half-time (less than 5 credits), pursuing a certificate program or international students
What to ask the lenders while researching Alternative Loans?
- Is the interest rate fixed or variable?
- Does the loan have a maximum (capped) variable interest rate?
- Can you receive a better interest rate if you have someone co-sign the loan?
- Are payments required to be made while in-school?
- Can the loan be used if only taking 3 credits (less than 1/2 time)?
- Is the loan used if not making Satisfactory Academic Progress?
- Can I use this loan as an international student?
Ultimately, choosing a loan and lender is completely up to you. After approving your credit, most lenders will send the information about your loan directly to the University. Remember, applying for a loan is a process and it could take several weeks to complete the process and have the funds sent to the school.
To better assist you with your search, we have provided a list of the loan products/lenders our online students have elected to use over the past three years (this list reflects only those lenders still lending).
We are happy to provide you with any information we may have on a particular lender. Please contact our office if you have additional questions.