Graduate Loan Information
Student Loan Programs
Federal Loans are available to United States citizens and permanent residents only.
+ Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to all students who have been denied or show reduced eligibility for the need-based Federal Subsidized Student Loan. The Unsubsidized Stafford loan also provides additional loan eligibility to independent students.
While repayment begins six months after graduation or cessation of at least half-time enrollment, the student can make interest payments or have the interest capitalized during in-school, grace or deferment periods. Students must file a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive these funds. You do not have to complete a separate MPN for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Your signature on the MPN will remain valid, so you will not need to complete a new MPN annually.
To complete an MPN:
- Go to www.studentloans.gov and click on the green "Sign In" button in the "Manage My Direct Loan" box.
- To sign in, you will need to provide your Social Security number, the first two characters of your last name, your date of birth, and your Department of Education issued PIN. This is the same PIN that you used to sign your FAFSA. If you do not have a PIN, or need to request a duplicate, you may do so online at www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN will also act as your electronic signature on the MPN.
- Once you have signed in, there is a 'Complete MPN' link on the left-hand main menu.
- As a borrower, you must also complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This is an online counseling session that ensures that you understand your rights and obligations as a borrower. From your account at www.studentloans.gov, click on 'Complete Entrance Counseling' on the left-hand main menu.
+ Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a federal loan that is available to graduate students, and can be used to cover educational expenses. In order to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you will need to log in to your account at www.studentloans.gov and complete a Direct Graduate PLUS loan application. The application is where you specify the dollar amount that you are applying for. This application also initiates a credit check. Once you have logged in, click on the "Request PLUS Loan" link on the left-hand main menu. You will be notified in writing of the results of the credit check by the Direct Loan Servicer. If you are credit approved for the PLUS loan, please complete the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). An MPN is a promise to repay document that must be signed before any loan funds can be disbursed. The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan MPN may be completed online at www.studentloans.gov by clicking on the "Complete MPN" link on the left-hand main menu and selecting "Graduate PLUS" loan type. Students may borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan up to the Cost of Attendance provided in your financial aid award letter less any other aid received, including Stafford Loans.
After exhausting the opportunities available from the federal aid programs, many students will consider private loan programs as a source of funding. As always, taking on debt for any reason should be done deliberately and only for the amounts needed. Additional information regarding the availability of federal student aid is available from the Department of Education publication, Federal Aid First.
The terms and conditions of these credit-based private loan programs vary, and as such, students are encouraged to review the details of the programs before selecting a private loan program. Private loans are not eligible for loan consolidation programs made available for federal student loans. Interest rates, fees (both at the time of borrowing and at repayment), credit checks, and annual and aggregate loan limits require careful evaluation by the student as a consumer.
As part of the application process, students will be required to complete the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form available through their lender's website, or it may be obtained here. Information needed to complete this form, such as cost of attendance, may be obtained here, while estimated financial assistance may be obtained from the student’s Financial Aid Award Letter.
How to Choose a Private Lender:
1. Getting Started »
Private loans are funded through a lender, and choosing a lender is an important decision - it involves a financial obligation that will be a part of your life for many years to come. Picking a lender can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. You may choose any educational loan lender you prefer. Remember to always take advantage of your federal loan options first.
Below is a historical list of lenders who continue to participate in the private loan program and who within the last three years Chatham University students have used. The University does not endorse any lender. You may choose any educational loan lender you prefer.
2. Be financial aid savvy and do your research »
Before you apply for the loan you will want to make sure you have done your research. Here are loan term definitions you should know before applying:
Master promissory note
- This is the agreement between you and the lender that you will re-pay the money when you graduate or fall below part time status. This is a legal contract. Please keep a copy for your records.
- The interest rate for the Stafford loan, Perkins loan and Plus loans are fixed. For a private loan the interest rate will vary. While you may see a low interest rate on a lender's website keep in mind that the low interest rate may depend on qualifying for the lender's benefit program.
- Some lenders will charge you an origination fee to use them as a lender while others will not. Remember that no origination fees do not save you any money in repayment, but you will receive more money up front.
Interest rate reductions for using automatic payments
- Some lenders will reduce your interest rate if you repay your loan through pre-scheduled automatic bank debits. Although the reduction in interest rate varies, the reduction is typically 0.25%.
- a term used for private student loans. This is the 3 month average of the London Interbank Offered Rate. LIBOR is the average interest rate paid on deposits of US dollars in the London market. APR - the Annual Percentage Rate, a rate that factors in the interest rate, fees, and other terms.
- the Prime Lending Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal. This is the rate banks charge their most creditworthy customers.
- The aggregate loan limit for the Stafford loan is specific to the type of student you are. (See chart). For private loans, the aggregate limit is based on each lender's terms. This is the maximum you can borrow per year, as well as your entire time in school.
- This is the amount of time you have to pay back the loan.
- If you need to postpone making payments, you can take advantage of deferment and forbearance options. Call your lender to learn more.
3. Know what questions to ask / what to look for »
Some questions you may want to ask are:
- How often do you capitalize interest during postponement periods?
- What are your repayment benefits? What percent of borrowers receive these benefits?
- What do I have to do to receive these benefits and how are the benefits lost?
- If I borrow $10,000 over my college career and I receive all these benefits, what will be the total dollar amount I will owe by the end of my 10 year repayment?
- If I borrow $10,000 over my college career and I receive NONE of these benefits, what will be the total dollar amount I will repay by the end of my repayment?
- Do you have a history of selling your loans?
- How long have you been originating private loans?
- What kind of debt management education do you provide?
- How quickly can I talk to a real person when I call? How long am I on hold?
- Is the lender able to provide insight and borrower education from pre-enrollment through repayment?
4. What happens next? »
You have selected a lender, now it is time to apply using their website! Did you know that peak processing begins before school starts in the fall? Our sample timeline will guide you through the loan processes.
Private Student Loans: April/May - Shop around for your lender. June - On your lender's website complete the application/promissory note. Please note, at that time your co-signer must also complete his/her portion of the application. Follow up with your lender 4-5 days after completing the application. This is the time to verify that your application is complete and that no further information is required. (Common missing items include a copy of a driver's license, pay stub, or co-signer signature.) July - The lender will then notify the financial office office will begin the process of certifying your student loan. August-September - The lender will electronically send the loan funds to Chatham University.
Please note that individual loan providers have their own applications and timelines. Plan to apply at least 45 days prior to the date the bill is due.
Borrowers may compare lender discounts and other borrower benefits with the following loan comparison tools:
Chatham University adheres to the Financial Aid Code of Conduct based on the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.
If you have questions about financial aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 412-365-2781 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.