Office of Financial Aid

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General Information

Will you need a loan to attend college? If so, think federal aid first. Federal student loans usually offer borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment terms and options than private student loans.

  1. What is a federal student loan?
    Federal loans are borrowed funds that you must repay with interest. A federal student loan allows students and their parents to borrow money to help pay for college through loan programs supported by the federal government.They have low interest rates and offer flexible repayment terms, benefits, and options. View sample repayment schedules for the Direct Loan programs.
    Income-Based Repayment Calculator: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-based/calculator

  2. What is a private student loan?
    A private student loan is a nonfederal loan issued by a lender such as a bank or credit union. If you’re not sure whether you’re being offered a private loan or a federal loan, look at the name of the loan to see if it includes the word “federal” and also check with the financial aid office at your school.Information about private loans.

  3. Why are federal student loans a better option for paying for college?
    Federal student loans offer borrowers many benefits not typically found in private loans. These include low fixed interest rates, income-based repayment plans, cancellations for certain employment, and deferment (postponement) options, including deferment of loan payments when a student returns to school. Also, private loans usually require a credit check. For these reasons, students and parents should always exhaust federal student loan options before considering a private loan.

  4. How do I access the federal student/parent loans?
    The University of San Diego Office of Financial Aid will determine your eligibility for the federal student loan programs based on the information submitted on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students whose parents wish to borrow under the Federal Parent PLUS loan program must now also complete the FAFSA.  Students must submit the FAFSA each year.

  5. What kinds of federal student loans are available?

Federal Loan Program Program Details Annual Award Limits
Federal Perkins Loan For undergraduate and graduate students
• Funds depend on student’s financial need and
availability of funds at the college
• Interest is 5%
• College is the lender; payment is owed to the
college that made the loan

• Undergraduate
students: up to $5,500
• Graduate and
professional degree
students: up to $8,000

Direct Subsidized (Stafford) Loan • For undergraduate and graduate students who
are enrolled at least half-time* and demonstrate
financial need
• Interest is 3.4% for loans made to undergraduate
students between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012
• Interest is 6.8% for loans made to graduate
students.
• Student is not charged interest on the loan while in
school and during grace and deferment periods
• The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is the
lender; payment is owed to ED
 
Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loan • For undergraduate and graduate students who are
enrolled at least half-time*
• Interest is 6.8%
• Student is responsible for interest during all periods
• ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
 
Direct PLUS Loan for Parents • For parents of dependent students
• Dependent students must be enrolled at least halftime*
• Interest is 7.9%
• Parent must not have negative credit history
• Parent is responsible for interest during all periods
• ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
Maximum amount is cost
of attendance* minus
any other financial aid
the student receives
Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate & Professional Students • For graduate and professional degree students who
are enrolled at least half-time*
• If the student has not requested the annual
maximum Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford
Loan amount they are eligible for, the school must
notify the student of this eligibility and give them
the opportunity to request it
• Student must not have negative credit history
• Interest is 7.9%
• Student is responsible for interest during all periods
• ED is the lender; payment is owed to ED
Maximum amount is cost
of attendance* minus
any other financial aid
the student receives