TYPES OF AID

Federal & Private Loans

About Federal Loans

Federal Loan Options

Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

  • Subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based and do not accrue interest during the student’s time in school. Only available to undergraduates.
  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are non-need-based and do accrue interest during the student’s time in school. Available to undergraduates and graduate/professional students.

Federal Perkins and Nursing Loans

• For students demonstrating significant financial need. These do not accrue interest during the student’s time in school.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

• Available to parents of dependent undergraduates, and/or graduate students. These do accrue interest during the student’s time in school.

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.

In order to receive federal loans for a course or courses, the course(s) must:

  • Be part of a matriculated degree-seeking program.
  • Not be audited courses.

Interest Rates for Federal Loans

Loan Type Borrower Type Fixed Interest Rate
Federal Direct Stafford Loan Undergraduate Students 5.05%
Federal Direct Stafford Loan Graduate/Professional Students 6.60%
Federal Perkins/Nursing Loan Undergraduate Students 5.00%
Federal Direct PLUS Loan Parents of Dependent Undergraduates and
Graduate/Professional Students
7.60%

Note: Above figures relate to loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 and prior to July 1, 2019.

Yearly Federal Loan Borrowing Limits

Year in School (Earned Undergraduate Credits) Dependent Undergraduate Students Independent Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
First Year
(0–23 earned credits)
$5,500 (No more than $3,500 subsidized) $9,500 (No more than $3,500 subsidized) N/A
Second Year 
(24–55 earned credits)
$6,500 (No more than $4,500 subsidized) $10,500 (No more than $4,500 subsidized) N/A
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 
(88–128 earned credits)
$7,500 (No more than $5,500 subsidized) $12,500 (No more than $5,500 subsidized) N/A
Fifth Year 
(129+ earned credits)
$7,500 (No more than $5,500 subsidized) $12,500 (No more than $5,500 subsidized) N/A

Aggregate or “Lifetime” Limits

Dependent Undergraduate Students Independent Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
$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)

Reducing or Canceling Loans

You can write a request to your financial aid counselor by email, fax, or postal mail. Requests must come directly from the student; parent requests will not be honored. You can subsequently request to restore such loans if need be, again with a written request, and you must do so before the end of the academic year or term in which you are enrolled.

Federal Loan Requirements

Accepting Federal Loans

You must complete the requirements listed below to formally accept any federal loan you may have been offered and to allow the loan to disburse to your student billing account with the University. You only need to complete these requirements once during your time at Rochester, and you will need your personal FSA ID. We encourage you to save all your information electronically for your records.

  1. Log in to your FAOnline account and click the ‘Required Documents’ screen.
  2. Any outstanding documents will be listed as Not Received.
  3. Keep in mind that you may need to complete requirements for several different loan types. For example, an undergraduate student may have qualified for a federal direct loan and a federal Perkins loan. That student would need to complete a master promissory note and entrance counseling for each loan.
  4. Parents can determine if they are missing any paperwork associated with the federal Parent PLUS loan by having their student check FAOnline or by contacting the Financial Aid Office directly.
  5. Sign your Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN). Learn more below.
  6. Complete loan entrance counseling. Learn more below.

Get handy instructions for loan requirements:

Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN)

Sign your Direct Loan eMPN

All first-time borrowers of a federal direct loan at the University of Rochester must sign an eMPN. Signing the eMPN is a ten-step process and will require at least 30 minutes.

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.

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

Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling

Begin Direct Loan Entrance Counseling

In addition to the eMPN, all first-time borrowers at the University of Rochester must complete loan entrance counseling. This session will take about 25–30 minutes. We will receive an electronic notice that the entrance counseling has been completed and is valid within two business days of you completing the requirement online.

During 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.

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 to set up an in-person session.

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

Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling

Begin Direct Loan Exit Counseling

All students who have borrowed through the Federal Direct Student Loan program while at the University of Rochester and are no longer enrolled must complete a loan exit counseling session with the federal government. You must complete exit counseling if you graduated, withdrew from the University, became inactive, or fell below half-time status. This session will take about 30 minutes.

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.

Our office will receive an electronic notice that the exit counseling has been completed and is valid within two business days of you completing the requirement online.

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

Federal Perkins and Nursing Loan Borrowers - Additional Details

The University of Rochester has successfully completed the transfer of your student loan account from ACS to Heartland ECSI, a leading provider of student loan servicing and higher education services. You can create your EasyPath profile today to take advantage of convenient features such as account management, online payments, electronic statements, payment history, and online document access.

Create your profile in 3 easy steps!

Step 1: Go to heartland.ecsi.net.

Step 2: Register by creating a profile.

Step 3: Connect your account using your Heartland Key. Please note: the Heartland Key is provided to you by Heartland ECSI. Until you have that Key, you will be unable to create your account.

Don’t forget to download the EasyPath mobile app by visiting the iPhone App Store or Android Marketplace.

Heartland ECSI Contact information

Payment Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 718, Wexford, PA 15090

Paperwork Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1278, Wexford, PA 15090

Customer Service:
Live Chat: heartland.ecsi.net. Phone Support: 1.888.549.3274

Our office will receive an electronic notice that the exit counseling has been completed and is valid within two business days of you completing the requirement online.

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

University Loans

University Loan Borrowers

The University of Rochester has successfully completed the transfer of your student loan account from ACS to Heartland ECSI, a leading provider of student loan servicing and higher education services. You can create your EasyPath profile today to take advantage of convenient features such as account management, online payments, electronic statements, payment history, and online document access.

Create your profile in 3 easy steps!

Step 1: Go to heartland.ecsi.net.
Step 2: Register by creating a profile.
Step 3: Connect your account using your Heartland Key. Please note: the Heartland Key is provided to you by Heartland ECSI. Until you have that Key, you will be unable to create your account.

Don’t forget to download the EasyPath mobile app by visiting the iPhone App Store or Android Marketplace.

University Loans include the following funds:

  • University Broxholm Memorial Loan
  • University Loeser Loan
  • University McGuire Loan
  • University O’Connor Loan
  • University Tiernan Loan

To determine if you’ve been awarded a University loan, log in to your FAOnline account and click the ‘Your Awards’ screen. Not all students qualify for this loan program.

University Loan Requirements

You must complete the requirements listed below to allow your University loans to disburse onto your student account. You only need to complete these requirements once during your time at Rochester.

Please note: You cannot sign your eMPN or complete the entrance counseling until you receive an email notification from our servicer, Heartland ECSI, informing you of the web link to use in order to create your profile and providing you with a Heartland Key.

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

Electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN)

All first-time borrowers of a University loan at the University of Rochester must sign an eMPN. We will receive an electronic notice that the eMPN has been signed and is valid within two business days of you completing the requirement online.

University Loan Entrance Counseling

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 about 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 receive an electronic notice that the counseling has been completed and is valid within two business days of you completing the requirement online.

University Loan Exit Counseling

All students who have borrowed a University Loan and are no longer enrolled must complete a loan exit counseling session. You must complete exit counseling if you graduated, withdrew from the University, became inactive, or fell below half-time status. This session will take about 30 minutes.

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.

Our office will receive an electronic notice that the exit counseling has been completed and is valid within two business days of you completing the requirement online through your Heartland ECSI account.

Heartland ECSI Contact Information

Payment Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 718, Wexford, PA 15090

Paperwork Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1278, Wexford, PA 15090

Customer Service:
Live Chat: heartland.ecsi.net Phone Support: 1 (888) 549.3274

Alternative Loans

Alternative Loan Borrowers

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

Due to these requirements, students need to allow for enough time for loan certification and disbursements to occur. This additional time may:

  • Cause late fees on the 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.

Disclosures

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. The borrower has 30 days after they receive 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:

  • The borrower’s acceptance of the approval disclosure
  • 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 three business days after the final disclosure is sent before they can send the funds to the school.

Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form

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 three business days, you may print the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification form (.pdf).

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’ screen in FAOnline.
  • Section 2, Question B: To determine your current financial aid awards, log in to FAOnline and click on the ‘Your Awards’ screen.
  • 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.

Alternative Loan Details

These educational loans are offered by banks and educational lenders as a supplement to (not a replacement of) 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.

The following types of students should contact their financial aid counselor first before pursuing alternative loans:

  • Non-matriculated students
  • 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). FinAid.org is a great resource for comparing private loan options.

Alternative educational loans:

  • Require credit approval.
  • Must be accounted for in the student’s financial aid package, even if the funding is sent directly to the student and does not require the school’s certification before it is approved.
  • 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.
  • Cannot have a maximum loan amount that exceeds the cost of attendance minus the financial aid already awarded by the University.
  • Usually have the student as the primary borrower of the loan; a few lenders will allow other family members to borrow on behalf of the student.
  • Usually allow students to defer payments on the loan while they are in school at least half time (6 credit hours).
  • Usually allow students to capitalize the interest accrued on the loan once they graduate or leave school.
  • Usually allow a six-month grace period before students begin repaying.

Things to consider before you apply

If you choose to pursue an alternative loan, you should contact your 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. We will not take in-school loan payments into account in our aid package review, and we won’t consider it in appeals. Take the time to compare.

Review and compare alternative lenders and the products they offer on the ELM Select list.

This list represents lenders that University of Rochester students have used in the past. The University of Rochester does not endorse any particular loan program; you may select a lender that does not appear on this list. Lending institutions are solely responsible for posting and updating their information on ELM Select.

If you select a lender on the list by selecting their link, you will be connected to the lender’s website and application. Once your completed application has been credit approved, your lender will electronically transmit it to our office for certification.

Questions to ask a potential lender

Before completing an application, get 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 my co-signer be released from the loan after I enter repayment?
  • 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?

Additional Borrowing Options

Budget Well

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/or assets, before pursuing additional loans. Limiting the amount of additional borrowing will help reduce the total cost of the education.

Visit our Financial Literacy page for more information on budgeting well and other ways to save money as a Rochester student.

State Educational Loans

State educational loans:

  • Are available to 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 Rochester 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

Alaska offers fixed-rate supplemental loans to state residents attending in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities. Loan options are available to undergraduate and graduate students and family members who wish to borrow on behalf of the student.

Connecticut

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

Maine

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

Massachusetts

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

New Jersey

New Jersey offers NJCLASS fixed-rate loan options for parents, undergraduate students, and graduate students who are state residents.

Vermont

Vermont offers the VSAC Advantage Loan to undergraduate and graduate students. This quarterly, variable-interest-rate loan is based on the LIBOR rate. Loan fees may be assessed on the amount borrowed, depending on credit score.

Loan Repayment

Federal Loan Repayment Plans

It’s important to find the right repayment plan for you in order to manage your money and make timely payments on your student loans after graduation. The government offers a variety of repayment plans to cater to different individuals’ needs. The federal loan repayment plans are listed below:

  • Standard Repayment Plan
  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan
  • Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan

Federal Perkins & Nursing Loan Repayment

  • Repayment of a Federal Perkins Loan or a Nursing Loan begins when the nine-month grace period ends.
  • At the time a borrower drops below half-time enrollment or leaves the University of Rochester, the student must complete an online exit interview.
  • During the interview, pertinent information and a repayment schedule are provided to the borrower.
  • The repayment period may not exceed ten years.
  • If you are currently in repayment, your payment will be due the 10th of every month.
  • To learn more about due dates as well as how to read the billing statement, visit Heartland ECSI’s website.
  • If you are currently enrolled in school, are in your grace period, or are in deferment/forbearance, no payment is due at this time.
  • You will begin to receive billing statements prior to your first payment due date.

Loan Repayment Calculators

There are a variety of resources available to help plan your loan repayments both before and after you graduate. A few of these resources are listed below:

Financial Awareness Counseling

from Federal Student Aid

Repayment Estimator from Federal Student Aid

Exit Counseling from Federal Student Aid

Loan Repayment Advisor from New York State Higher Education Services Corporation

Student Loan Calculator from Big Future by The College Board

Loan Calculator from FinAid

Section 508-Compliant Student Loan Repayment Calculator by 508 Finance

University Loan Repayment

There are a variety of resources available to help plan your loan repayments both before and after you graduate. A few of these resources are listed below:

  • Repayment of a University Loan begins when the six-month grace period ends.
  • At the time a borrower drops below half-time enrollment or leaves the University of Rochester, the student must complete an online exit interview.
  • During the interview, pertinent information and a repayment schedule are provided to the borrower.
  • The repayment period may not exceed five years.
  • If you are currently in repayment, your payment will be due the 10th of every month.
  • To learn more about due dates as well as how to read the billing statement, visit Heartland ECSI’s website.
  • If you are currently enrolled in school, are in your grace period, or are in deferment/forbearance, no payment is due at this time.
  • You will begin to receive billing statements prior to your first payment due date.