Loans

In an effort to meet each student’s demonstrated financial need, the University of Rochester assesses students’ eligibility for scholarships, grants, work study, and federal loans upon receipt of a FAFSA and any other requested documents (depending on the student’s class year and degree program).

On these pages, you will find details about the loan programs the University administers, as well as supplemental loan options available to help finance any remaining educational expenses.

Loan Requirements

Loan Requirements

Borrowers are expected to complete only those forms and requirements that are listed under their specific borrower type. For example, undergraduate students cannot submit forms or complete requirements that are required for a federal Parent PLUS loan or a federal Graduate PLUS loan.

Please note: It is a federal violation to complete forms or requirements for a loan of which you are not the primary borrower.

 

Federal Loan Requirements

The requirements listed below must be completed to allow your federal loans to disburse onto your account and to allow your transcript to be released after you graduate. These requirements only need to be completed once during your undergraduate career. To complete any of the federal loan requirements listed below, you will need your personal FAFSA PIN. If you have forgotten your PIN, you can request it online. We encourage you to save all information electronically for your records.

 

Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and Graduate PLUS Loan Borrowers

Please note that students cannot sign their eMPN until they receive notification via email from the Financial Aid Office informing them of the web links to use. Do not try to complete the requirements until you receive this notification.

All first-time borrowers of a federal direct loan at the University of Rochester must complete an eMPN. There is no need to submit a copy of your eMPN to the Financial Aid Office. We will receive an electronic notice that the eMPN has been signed and is valid. At that time, your Federal Direct Loan will be scheduled for disbursement.

In order to sign your eMPN, please click here. Signing your eMPN is a 10-step process and will require at least 30 minutes to complete.

In addition to the eMPN, all first-time borrowers at the University of Rochester must complete loan entrance counseling before loan proceeds can be credited to their student accounts. This session will take approximately 25-30 minutes. After you complete the entrance interview quiz, our office will receive confirmation by the U.S. Department of Education within approximately one week.

In the entrance counseling session, you will learn:

  • Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower
  • Information on interest rates, expenses, repayment plans, and other important details about borrowing
  • Whom to contact with questions

Note: You may attempt to pass the quiz three times. If you do not pass on your third attempt, you must contact your financial aid counselor at the Financial Aid Office to set up an in-person session.

Click here to begin the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.

Please note if you do not complete a loan exit counseling session, your University of Rochester transcript will be held until this requirement has been completed.

All students who have borrowed through the Federal Direct Student Loan program while at the University of Rochester must complete a loan exit counseling session during their last semester prior to graduation. Other conditions that require exit counseling include withdrawing, becoming inactive, or falling below half-time status. This session will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

In the exit counseling session, you will learn:

  • Your rights and responsibilities for repayment
  • Your repayment options
  • How to defer your loans while in graduate school
  • Who your loan servicer is and how to contact them

After you complete the exit interview quiz, our office will be notified by the U.S. Department of Education within approximately one week.

Click here to begin the Direct Loan Exit Counseling.

 

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Borrowers

Please note that parents cannot sign their eMPN until they receive notification via email from the Financial Aid Office informing them of the web links to use. Do not try to complete these requirements before your email notification.

Parents who are borrowing a Federal Direct PLUS Loan for the first time and have already submitted a PLUS loan application to the Financial Aid Office must complete an eMPN once they have received credit approval and have received their emailed instructions from the Financial Aid Office. The eMPN needs to be signed only once; it is good for 10 years. However, you must submit a new PLUS application each year.

There is no need to submit a copy of your eMPN to the Financial Aid Office. We will receive electronic notice that the eMPN has been signed and is valid. At that time, your Federal Direct PLUS Loan will be scheduled for disbursement.

In order to sign your eMPN, please click here. Signing your eMPN is a 10-step process and will require at least 30 minutes to complete.

 

Federal Perkins/Nursing Loan Borrowers

Please note that students cannot sign their eMPN until they receive notification via email from our servicer, ACS, informing them of the web links to use. Do not try to complete the requirements until you receive this notification.

Students who are borrowing a Federal Perkins Loan for the first time at the University of Rochester must complete an eMPN. There is no need to submit a copy of your eMPN to the Financial Aid Office. We will receive an electronic notice that the eMPN has been signed and is valid. At that time, your Federal Perkins Loan will be scheduled for disbursement.

Click here to begin the Perkins eMPN process.

Please note that students cannot sign their eMPN until they receive notification via email from our servicer, ACS, informing them of the web links to use. Do not try to complete the requirements until you receive this notification.

Students who are borrowing a Nursing loan for the first time at the University of Rochester must complete an eMPN. There is no need to submit a copy of the eMPN to the Financial Aid Office once it is completed. We will receive an electronic notice that the e MPN has been signed and is valid. At that time, your Nursing Loan will be scheduled for disbursement.

Click here to begin the Nursing Loan eMPN process.

All first-time borrowers at the University of Rochester must complete loan entrance counseling before loan proceeds can be credited to their student accounts. This session will take approximately 25-30 minutes.

In the entrance counseling session, you will learn:

  • your rights and responsibilities as a borrower
  • information on repayment, interest rates, and other important details about borrowing
  • whom to contact with questions

After you complete the entrance counseling, our office will be notified via an electronic report. Be sure to complete the entrance counseling session for each type of loan that you are borrowing at the University. You will only need to complete the entrance counseling session one time and this requirement will be complete for the rest of your undergraduate study at the University.

Click here to begin the entrance counseling session.

If you do not complete the Perkins/Nursing exit counseling session, your University of Rochester transcript will be held until this requirement has been completed.

All students who have borrowed either a Federal Perkins Loan or a Federal Nursing Student Loan while at the University of Rochester must complete a loan exit counseling session during their last semester prior to graduation. Other conditions that require exit counseling include withdrawing, becoming inactive, or falling below half-time status. This session will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

In the exit counseling session, you will learn:

  • your repayment terms and conditions
  • how to defer your loans
  • who your loan servicer is and how to contact them

After you complete the exit interview quiz, our office will be notified by the within approximately one week.

Click here to begin your exit counseling session.

 

Alternative Loan Application Requirements

As of February 14, 2010, all alternative educational lenders are required to send new borrowers three disclosure statements as well as a self-certification form. The borrower must complete and return these statements to the lender before their application process will be complete with the lender and allow for any loan funds to be sent to the student’s school.

Due to these requirements, it is important to note that students will need to allow for enough time for loan certification and disbursements to occur. This additional time may:

  • Cause late fees on your student account
  • Cause a delay in the receipt of a potential refund
  • Affect student participation in registration and housing lotteries in the event that a financial hold exists on the account

The lender will send three disclosures to the borrower.

  • Application Disclosure — sent once the lender receives the loan request from the student
  • Approval Disclosure — sent once the student’s loan request is credit approved by the lender. Please note that the borrower has 30 days from the receipt of the approval disclosure to notify the lender that the student accepts the loan offer.
  • Final Disclosure — sent to the borrower after the lender has received the following items:
    • acceptance of the approval disclosure by the borrower
    • the private education loan applicant self-certification form completed by the borrower
    • certification of the loan by the borrower’s school

Please be aware that the lender must wait at least 3 business days after the final disclosure is sent before they can send the funds to the school.

In addition to the disclosures, the lender will also send the borrower a self-certification form. This form is sent once the alternative loan application is credit-approved. The borrower must complete sections 2 and 3 of the form, sign it, and return it to the lender.

If you have received the approval disclosure but have not received the self-certification form from the lender within 3 business days, you may print the form available here.

Here are some additional tips for completing the self-certification form:

  • Section 2, Question A: To determine your current estimated cost of attendance, refer to the cost of attendance figure provided on the Important Messages tab in your FAOnline account.
  • Section 2, Question B: To determine your current financial aid awards, log into your FAOnline account and click on “Your Awards.”
  • Section 2, Question C: To determine your current alternative loan eligibility, subtract your total financial aid from your total cost of attendance.
  • Section 3: To determine the period of enrollment for which you would like to receive this loan, please use the same dates that you originally used on your loan application with the lender.

If you are having difficulty finding the information you need to complete the self-certification form, please contact your financial aid counselor.

Federal Loans

Federal Student Loans

Eligibility

Federal student loans are available to students who are:

  • US citizens or permanent residents
  • Matriculated
  • Enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours per term) in a degree-seeking program

Please note: Audited courses do not count in determining enrollment status.

Federal student loans are the most beneficial loan options available to students and their families and should be pursued before supplemental loans.

 

Federal Direct Loan Updates

Changes to the federal loan program for the 2013-2014 academic years will take place on July 1, 2013. Please read this information carefully as you prepare for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Listed below are the primary changes to the federal loan program:

  • Students receiving Direct Subsidized Loans have a maximum eligibility period of 150% of the published length of their program. For example, if a student is enrolled in a 4-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which that student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is 6 years (150% of 4 years = 6 years).
  • If students receive a Direct Subsidized Loan while enrolled less than full-time, the period is counted against the student’s maximum eligibility and the maximum eligibility will be reduced.
  • Students become responsible for interest that accrues if the student is no longer eligible or has used up his or her eligibility.
  • Students do not become responsible for interest that accrues if they enroll in a graduate or professional program, withdraw from their program, or enroll in required preparatory coursework or a teacher certification program.
  • Students can regain eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans if they enroll in a new program longer than their previous program.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loans

  • Fixed, low-interest, long-term loans for students’ educational expenses
  • These loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized:
    • A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. You will not be charged any interest while you are in school (enrolled at least half time).
    • An unsubsidized loan does not depend on financial need. Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

Eligibility

Federal student loans are available to students who are:

  • US citizens or permanent residents
  • Matriculated
  • Enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours per term) in a degree-seeking program
  • Of any age

Please note: Audited courses do not count in determining enrollment status.

Federal student loans are the most beneficial loan options to students and their families and should be pursued before supplemental loans.

To request federal student loans, students must submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Assistance) and any other requested documents. Federal student loans consist of the Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and Perkins Loan.

 

Loan Types

subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. You will not be charged any interest while you are in school (enrolled at least half time) or during deferment, as the federal government subsidizes (pays) the interest during these periods.

An unsubsidized loan does not depend on financial need. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You may pay the interest if you choose while you are still in school or during any deferment periods; if allowed to accrue, it will be capitalized (added to the principal balance) at the beginning of the repayment period, thereby increasing the total cost of your loan.

 

Interest Rate and Fees

Academic YearUndergraduate Student Subsidized Loan Interest RateGraduate Student Direct Loan Interest Rate
2008-096.0%6.8%
2009-105.6%6.8%
2010-114.5%6.8%
2011-123.4%6.8%
2012-133.4%6.8%
2013-143.4%5.41%

*Please note that the federal government will only offer unsubsidized loans to graduate students beginning in July 1, 2012.

The interest rate for undergraduate unsubsidized, graduate subsidized, and graduate unsubsidized Direct Student Loans is fixed at 6.8%. In 2011-2012 there is an origination fee of 1% charged on federal loans, minus a 0.5% rebate, to net a 0.5% origination fee. This fee will be subtracted from the amount borrowed, and will be reflected in the disbursements issued to the University (for example, a $5,500 loan will be disbursed for $5,473). The rebate is honored provided the student makes 12 consecutive on-time payments once the loan first enters repayment. Beginning on July 1, 2012, the net origination fee will increase to 1% charged on all federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

 

Loan Limits

Depending on individual circumstances, a student may be offered a portion of a subsidized and unsubsidized loan; however, the total combined amount cannot exceed the annual loan limit (base limit). Please see the annual loan limit chart.

Yearly Direct Stafford Loan eligibility is determined by the total number of credit hours earned toward the student’s degree.

Year in School (Earned Undergraduate Credits)Dependent Undergraduate Student Loan LimitsIndependent Undergraduate Student Loan LimitsGraduate Student
First Year
(0-23 earned credits)
$5,500
(no more than $3,500 subsidized)
$9,500
(no more than $3,500 subsidized)
Second Year
(24-55 earned credits)
$6,500 
(no more than $4,500 subsidized)
$10,500
(no more than $4,500 subsidized)
Third Year
(56-87 earned credits)
$7,500 
(no more than $5,500 subsidized)
$12,500
(no more than $5,500 subsidized)
$20,500 
unsubsidized
Fourth Year
(88-119 earned credits)
$7,500
(no more than $5,500 subsidized)
$12,500
(no more than $5,500 subsidized)
Fifth Year
(119+ earned credits)
$7,500
(no more than $5,500 subsidized)
$12,500
(no more than $5,500 subsidized)

In the event of a parent PLUS loan denial, students may borrow an additional unsubsidized loan beyond the standard annual limit.

Beginning July 1, 2012, graduate students will be eligible for only Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funding not to exceed the yearly $20,500 amount. Students will still be able to apply for a Graduate PLUS loan after receiving their Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan to cover any gaps between their awarded aid and their cost of attendance.

Please note: The actual amount a student is eligible to borrow cannot exceed the University of Rochester’s cost of attendance minus any other assistance received.

 

Aggregate Limits

The total outstanding Federal Direct Student Loan debt an undergraduate, dependent student may have is limited to $31,000 (of which no more than $23,000 may be subsidized). The aggregate limit for an undergraduate, independent student is $57,500 (of which no more than $23,000 may be subsidized). For graduate students, the maximum is $138,500 (of which no more than $65,500 may be subsidized). This aggregate limit figure includes any Federal Stafford/Direct Loans received during undergraduate study.

Year in SchoolDependent Undergraduate Student Loan LimitsIndependent Undergraduate Student Loan LimitsGraduate Student
Aggregate Loan Limits$31,000
(no more than $23,000 subsidized)
$57,500
(no more than $23,000 subsidized)
$138,500
(no more than $65,000 subsidized;
includes undergraduate loans)

 

Canceling Loans

If you wish to decline either your Federal Direct Loan or Perkins Loan, you (the student) must do so in writing by email, fax, or postal mail. Requests from parents will not be honored. Please note that you must decline your Federal Perkins Loan (if awarded) before declining your Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. If, at a later date, you decide you would like to restore all or a portion of your Federal Direct Loan, you may do so by notifying our office in writing before the end of the academic year or term for which you are enrolled. Please be aware that we may not be able to restore a Perkins Loan due to funding limitations.

 

Additional Notes on Loans

  • Federal loans require multiple disbursements. For example, if you are enrolled in a fall/spring academic year, you will receive half in the fall and half in the spring. If you are enrolled in a fall/winter/spring academic term, you will receive one third of your loans in the fall, one third in the winter, and one third in the spring.
  • Once a student drops below half-time enrollment (6 credit hours), withdraws, becomes inactive, or graduates, the Federal Direct Loan enters a 6-month grace period, during which no payments are required. Once the grace period expires, repayment begins.
  • Notices to complete federally required exit counseling will be sent during your final term before graduation or shortly after we receive notification that you have withdrawn, become inactive, or dropped below half-time enrollment.
  • All federal loans can be consolidated once they enter grace or repayment periods.

Federal Perkins Loan Program

The Perkins Loan is a university-based federal loan available only to undergraduate students who demonstrate high financial need. It has a fixed 5% interest rate, and no origination fee. Funds are limited, so priority is given to those students who complete their financial aid files on time and demonstrate the greatest financial need.

The program:

  • Is offered to students who demonstrate the highest financial need
  • Has a fixed 5% interest rate
  • Has no origination fee
  • Differs from the Direct Loan program in that its funding is based on the annual allocation the University of Rochester receives from the federal government

Because funding levels vary from year to year…

  • We are not able to award this loan to all students
  • The amount offered to students can vary each year, depending on class level and the extent of financial need
  • Students are strongly encouraged to apply for aid on time, as funding for late filers is less likely to occur

Repayment begins 9 months after the student completes or withdraws from an educational program. The loan has a 10-year repayment term, and the minimum monthly payments are $40 per month.

If you wish to decline or reduce your Federal Perkins Loan, you must do so in writing. Please note that University policy requires you to decline your Federal Perkins Loan (if awarded) before declining your Federal Direct Subsidized Loan.

Federal Nursing Loan Program

The Nursing Loan is a university-based federal loan available only to undergraduate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate high financial need. It has a fixed 5% interest rate, and no origination fee is charged. Interest does not accrue while the student is matriculated and enrolled at least half time. Funds are limited, so priority is given to those students who complete their financial aid applications on time and demonstrate the greatest financial need.

The program:

  • Is offered to students who demonstrate the highest financial need
  • Has a fixed 5% interest rate
  • Has no origination fee
  • Differs from the Direct Loan program in that its funding is based on the annual allocation the University of Rochester receives from the federal government

Because funding levels vary from year to year…

  • we are not able to award this loan to all students
  • the amount offered to students can vary each year, depending on class level and the extent of financial need
  • students are strongly encouraged to apply for aid on time, as funding for late filers is less likely to occur

Repayment begins 9 months after the student completes or withdraws from an educational program or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. The loan has a 10-year repayment term, and the minimum monthly payments are $40 per month.

If you wish to decline or reduce your Federal Nursing Loan, you must do so in writing. Please note that we may not be able to reissue the loan back to you.

Students who are offered this loan need to complete a master promissory note and entrance counseling before funds can be disbursed and will be notified by email when it is time for these requirements to be completed. These loan requirements only need to be completed once. Additional details about this loan program are included in the promissory note and entrance counseling.

There are additional documents that will require completion each academic year in which you are offered this loan. The Truth in Lending Act requires the University to provide you four documents of information regarding your loan:

  • Solicitation and Application Document
  • First Disclosure Approval Document
  • Self-Certification Form
  • Final Disclosure Approval

You must confirm receipt of these documents each year in order to receive your loan.

Additional Options

Additional Funding Options

Budget

We encourage all students and parents to borrow as little as possible. In the event that the student and/or parents wish to seek financing beyond the student’s financial aid package, we recommend that the family consider paying for remaining expenses through student work, current income, and assets, before pursuing additional loans. Limiting the amount of additional borrowing a family undertakes will help reduce the total cost of the education.

For assistance in developing a family budget, please visit our Budgeting section. In addition to the information we provide regarding budgeting, the federal government has made available for students an interactive loan counseling tool that provides five tutorials that cover topics from managing a budget to avoiding default on their student loans. The Financial Awareness Counseling tool enables students to manage their current loan debt and plan for repayment after graduation.

Once the family determines how much they need to borrow, they must then decide on the loan product(s) to use. Families can choose a combination of educational loans to help meet college expenses. Although it is wise for families to explore all loan options (educational as well as certain consumer loans such as home equity) to assist with college expenses, we encourage families to investigate the educational loans listed below first. Educational loans have the benefits of:

  • more flexible deferment/forbearance options
  • longer repayment periods (resulting in lower monthly payments)
  • loan consolidation
  • more generous credit approval rates

Three additional educational loan options are the federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) (or Graduate PLUS for graduate students), certain state educational loans, and alternative (private) educational loans.

 

Federal PLUS Loans

Parent PLUS Loan

Parents can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay for a student’s educational expenses as long as the student is:

  • Considered to be a dependent
  • Enrolled at least half time (at least 6 credit hours per term)
  • Matriculated in a degree-seeking program

Credit approval is required to receive the loan. Parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid the student is receiving. The interest rate is a fixed 6.41%.

Parent PLUS applications can be submitted online. Click the green Sign In button to complete the PLUS Request Process. Parents must submit the application using their federal PIN. (If needed, please see the “Apply for PIN” link, located under “Tools and Resources” on that website).

Parents should avoid applying any earlier than 90 days before the start of the semester for which the loan is needed. Credit approvals are only viable for that amount of time. If the loan is applied for too early, the credit approval will become invalid and a new PLUS application will need to be submitted online for processing.

Once the application is submitted online, the Financial Aid Office will be notified electronically regarding the amount requested and whether the loan was approved or denied. Please note that the loan amount requested is assumed to be for the entire academic year. If your needs change after the PLUS loan application is submitted, please contact your counselor.

 

Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate students can borrow a PLUS Loan to help pay for their education expenses as long as they:

  • Have already applied for their annual federal Direct Student Loans (please see How to Apply)
  • Are matriculated in a master’s or PhD program; certificate programs are excluded
  • Are enrolled at least half time (at least 6 credit hours per term)

Graduate PLUS applications can be submitted online. Click the green Sign In button to complete the PLUS Request Process. Students must have a federal PIN and have already submitted a FAFSA in order to submit a Graduate PLUS application.

Students should avoid applying any earlier than 90 days before the start of the academic year. Credit approvals are only viable for that amount of time. If the loan is applied for too early, the credit approval will become invalid and a new PLUS application will need to be submitted online for processing. Please also factor in time for the Financial Aid Office to review your submitted FAFSA, which must occur before your Graduate PLUS application can be processed.

Once the application is submitted online, the Financial Aid Office will be notified electronically regarding the amount requested and whether the loan was approved or denied. Please note that the loan amount requested is assumed to be for the entire academic year. The PLUS loan will be set up across all the terms in which you are, or plan to be, enrolled at least half time during the academic year. The total of your PLUS loan and other financial aid cannot exceed the cost of attendance for each eligible term.

If your needs change after the PLUS loan application is submitted, please contact your counselor.

PLUS loans offer a 6.41% fixed interest rate. For the 2011-2012 academic year, an origination fee of 4% charged on federal PLUS loans, minus a 1.5% rebate, to net a 2.5% origination fee. This fee will be subtracted from the amount borrowed, and will be reflected in the disbursements issued to the University (for example, a $10,000 loan will be disbursed for $9,750). The rebate is honored provided the borrower makes 12 consecutive on-time payments once the loan first enters repayment. Beginning on July 1, 2012, the net origination fee will increase to 4% charged on all federal PLUS loans.

The repayment period will initially be set under the standard repayment plan, which is a 10-year term; however, there are other repayment plans available. There is no grace period. Deferment and forbearance options are available for specific situations. Please note: For Parent PLUS loans set up and approved after July 1, 2008, the parents may choose to have the loan deferred while the student is enrolled at least half time. Repayment will then begin once the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours). For more information on postponing repayment, please click here.

Grad PLUS loans can be consolidated with existing federal student loans, but Parent PLUS loans cannot be consolidated with the dependent’s student loans. For more information regarding consolidation, please click here.

PLUS Loan Denial: In the event that a Parent PLUS loan is denied, the student may borrow an additional federal unsubsidized loan, up to $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores and $5,000 for juniors and seniors. Students need to request these funds in writing after the parent receives notification of the denial. PLUS loan denials do not carry over to the following year; the PLUS loan must be applied for each year.

 

State Educational Loans

Based on the research we have conducted, the following states offer educational loans for their residents: Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.

State educational loans:

  • Are available to both undergraduate and graduate students (and possibly to parents and relatives), as long as the student is matriculated and enrolled at least half time in a degree program
  • Are credit-based and offer interest rates and terms which are very competitive with PLUS loans and which are typically better than those of alternative loans
  • May have both fixed and variable interest rates available, depending on the state

To qualify for a state educational loan from any of the states listed below, you (the student or the parent of a UR student) must be a resident of that state, unless otherwise noted. Carefully read the criteria for the loan and contact the state organization if you have any questions.

Alaska offers fixed-rate supplemental loans to state residents for students attending in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities. Loan options are available to both undergraduate and graduate students as well as family members who wish to borrow on behalf of the student. Please note the loan limit. Please refer to the links below:

Students

Parents

Connecticut offers the CT FELP loan to undergraduate and graduate students who are attending accredited nonprofit colleges in the US and are Connecticut residents. The loan is a fixed-rate loan and currently requires the student to make interest payments while in school. Please click here for more information.

Maine offers The Maine Loan to its state residents who are attending approved colleges in the United States. The Maine Loan has a variable interest rate and has a tiered fee structure based on credit level.

Massachusetts offers two supplemental loan options to students through the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA): the MEFA Undergraduate Loan (available to either the parent or the student) and the MEFA Graduate Loan. Please refer to the links below:

MEFA Undergraduate Loan

MEFA Graduate Loan

New Jersey offers NJCLASS fixed-rate loan options for parents, undergraduate students, and graduate students who are residents of the state. Please click here for more information.

Vermont offers the VSAC Advantage Loan to undergraduate and graduate students only. This quarterly, variable-interest-rate loan is based on the LIBOR rate. Current interest rates are LIBOR + 2.25% to LIBOR + 5.5%, depending on credit score. Loan fees may be assessed on the amount borrowed, depending on credit score. Please click here for more information.

 

Alternative Loans

These educational loans are offered by several banks and educational lenders as a supplement to (not a replacement for) federal student loans. Alternative loans may also be referred to as private educational loans, as they are not affiliated with the federal or state loan programs. International students will need to have a US citizen or permanent resident cosign the loan.

Alternative loans…

  • Feature variable interest rates based on the LIBOR or PRIME rate
  • May have additional fees of up to 9.5% of the requested loan amount
  • Require credit approval
  • May be deferred
  • Often allow a 6-month grace period before students begin repaying
  • Must be accounted for in the student’s aid package

Please note: The following types of students should speak to a financial aid counselor first before pursuing alternative loans:

  • Non-matriculated
  • Students seeking to pay past-due balances
  • Students not meeting satisfactory academic progress
  • Students denied on previous alternative loan applications due to poor credit

Before pursuing an alternative loan, we recommend that you compare its features to the PLUS loan (and state educational loans, if available).

We also provide links to other calculators that you may find useful in your efforts to mitigate your college expenses.

Alternative loans…

  • Have variable interest rates that have no caps. Interest rates are based on the LIBOR rate or PRIME rate.
  • May have additional fees of up to 9.5% of the requested loan amount
  • Require credit approval
  • Cannot have a maximum loan amount that exceeds the cost of attendance less the financial aid offered, up to an Annual maximum stated by the lender, if applicable
  • Usually have the student as the primary borrower. (A few lenders will allow other family members to borrow on behalf of the student. Be sure to call the lender to check on this feature.)
  • Will usually allow students to defer payments on the loan while they are in school at least half time (6 credit hours)
  • Will usually allow students to capitalize the interest accrued on the loan once they graduate or leave school
  • Often allow a 6-month grace period before students begin repaying

If you choose to pursue an alternative loan, it is suggested that you speak to a financial aid counselor to explore your options first. If you are confident that you want to borrow an alternative loan, be sure to compare the costs associated with various loans before completing an application. Interest rates, fees, repayment periods, borrower benefits, customer service, and other features can vary significantly between loans. While many educational loans are available with no fees and interest rates less than 10%, other programs exist with fees up to 9.5% and interest rates over 14%. These higher rates can result in you paying thousands of dollars in additional costs. Be aware that some loan programs require you to make interest payments while in school. The UR Financial Aid Office will not take in-school loan payments into account in our review of your aid package or consider it in appeals. Take the time to compare. We provide a worksheet that you can download and print to help in your loan comparisons.

If you’ve borrowed through an alternative loan program before, staying with the same loan program is often the best choice. Due to turbulent conditions in the student loan industry, the loan you have borrowed in the past may no longer be available. Therefore, we recommend you start your alternative loan search early and, if you have used an alternative loan in the past, check to see that the loan program still exists. Please be aware that there are thousands of lenders who participate in student educational loans and you are welcome to pursue additional loans from any lender. To assist in your research, please see FinAid.org’s Private Student Loans page.

If you select a loan through a comparative website, be sure to go to the lender’s website as well, to make sure you are getting the most up-to-date information before starting the application process. Finally, before completing an application, determine from the lender the answers to these questions:

  • How much may I borrow?
  • What are the fees associated with the loan?
  • What is the interest rate and how often will it change (e.g. quarterly)?
  • Do I need to be at least 18 years old to receive the loan?
  • Do I need a co-signer?
  • Can I receive a lower interest rate when I apply with a co-signer?
  • Can I defer payments while in school?
  • What are the terms of repayment?
  • Are there any penalties for paying the loan off early?

Disclaimer: The University of Rochester does not maintain a preferred lender list. Thus, the University has no agreements or relationships with any lenders and does not receive any benefit, financial or otherwise, from the use of alternative loans by students. For more information about the University’s policies, please see our Student Loan Code of Conduct.

Budgeting

Budgeting

It is strongly recommended that all families first develop a budget before determining how much in additional loans they want to borrow. While it takes time to develop an effective budget, maintaining it can reward you greatly.

Tips for Developing a Personal Budget

  • Collect at least 3 months’ worth of pay stubs, other income statements (e.g. disability, social security, unemployment), bank statements, credit card bills, receipts, and your check register.
  • Keep track of all expenses paid for in cash.
  • Don’t forget about expenses that are paid on a semiannual or annual basis, e.g. auto and homeowners insurance.
  • If you don’t have 3 months’ worth of collected income and expense data, use the data that you have available and start putting together a budget that you can improve upon as time goes by.
  • Put your budget on a spreadsheet, and update it each month. A budget is a tool that works best when it is continuously used and updated.

Calculators

Many websites offer calculators to assist you in making college affordable. Available resources include:

  • Net Price Calculators, which provide the estimated net cost of attending an institution (should be used by first-time, first-year undergraduate students)
  • expected family contribution estimators
  • budget calculators (be sure to look over the calculator first to distinguish between student budget and family budget)
  • loan calculators for determining monthly payments and the total cost of a loan
  • college savings planners

Although there are several websites (including those set up by lenders) that provide useful calculators, we suggest you start with the following: