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.

Updates to Federal Direct Loans for 2013-2014

Please also take some time to review our Loan Requirements page.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Click here for additional PLUS Loan details.

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.

Click here for additional PLUS Loan details.

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 research these loan options, please go to State Educational Loans.

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

For more information and advice about choosing alternative loans, please see additional alternative loan details.

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