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Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Loans

Loans are a valuable resource for students and their parents because they allow you to postpone paying a portion of your educational costs until after you graduate or after you drop below half-time (6 credits) enrollment. Repayment of student loans is traditionally scheduled over a ten-year period beginning 6 months after you leave school. As of July 1, 2009, parents who borrow from the Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program may choose to defer payments until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Accruing interest could either be paid by the parent borrower monthly or quarterly, or be capitalized quarterly.

calculator

Use our PLUS Loan Calculator if after reviewing your financial aid award and estimated annual charges, you and your family have decided on an amount to borrow in PLUS loan funds. Click here to calculate your PLUS Loan for the 2016-2017 financial aid year.

Federal Loans

Alternative (non-federal) Loans

State Educational Loans

Loan Borrowing History (National Loan Databases)

Federal Loans

Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized)

Federal Direct Loan—William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans are provided by the federal government and require that you first file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Direct Loan Program provides a simple way to obtain and repay student loans; the U.S. Department of Education is the lender and the loan funds are sent directly to RIT. If you borrowed federal loans at a previous institution, you can combine those loans with the Federal Direct Loans under the Direct Consolidation Loan Program. Your academic year level and dependency status determines the maximum annual amount you may be eligible to borrow; the federal government also monitors loan aggregates for both undergraduate and graduate students.

What Kinds of Direct Loans are Available?

  • Direct Subsidized Loans—are loans for students with financial need, as determined by federal regulations.  No interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time and during deferment periods.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans—are loans for students that are not based on financial need. The interest on your loan will accumulate while you are in school. You may choose to either pay the interest, or to defer the interest payment, in which case it will be capitalized.

Federal Direct Student Loan 2016-2017 Interest Rates

The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. Under this Act, interest rates will be determined each June for new loans being made for the upcoming award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. Federal student loans have loan fees that are a percentage of the total loan amount. The loan fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement you receive.

Federal Direct Student Loans 2016-2017 Interest Rates
Effective for Loans First Disbursed on or after July 1, 2016 and prior to July 1, 2017
Loan Type Borrower Type Index
10-Year Treasury Note
Add-On Fixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 1.71% 2.05% 3.76%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 1.71% 2.05% 3.76%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate/Professional Students 1.71% 3.60% 5.31%

View chart of historical interest rates from 2008.

New information on Subsidized Direct Loans effective July 1, 2013

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” For additional information refer to Policies and Information: Time Limits on Direct Subsidized Loan Eligibility for First Time Borrowers.

Federal Loan Limits

Annual Maximum Limit (Federal Direct [Subsidized & Unsubsidized])
Dependent Student Independent Student
Year 1 $5,500 (No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans) $9,500 (No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
Year 2 $6,500 (No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans) $10,500 (No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
Years 3, 4, & 5 $7,500 (No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans) $12,500 (No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
Graduate/
Professional
n/a $20,500 As of July 1, 2012, subsidized loans are no longer available to graduate and professional degree students.
Aggregate Limits
Dependent
Undergraduate
$31,000 (No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans) n/a
Independent
Undergraduate
n/a $57,500 (No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
Graduate n/a $138,500 (No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)

As of July 1, 2012, subsidized loans are no longer available to graduate and professional degree students.

Disclaimer: Graduate students who are certified for full-time equivalency status while completing thesis requirements have a maximum of three semesters of federal student loan eligibility

If you are a first time Federal Direct Loan borrower you must sign a Master Promissory Note and complete an Entrance Counseling tutorial/quiz. Both can be completed at www.studentloans.gov. You may also complete both the Master Promissory Note and the Entrance Counseling tutorial in person at our office.

Additional electronic loan services for students include:

Federal Direct Loan History & Loan Consolidation—View information about your direct loan balance and contact information for your loan servicer.

Federal Direct Loan Exit Interview—All federal loan borrowers are required to complete an Exit Counseling session prior to graduation, leave of absence, or withdrawal from school. The purpose of the exit interview is to inform borrowers of the provisions of the loan(s) as well as their rights and responsibilities now that the loan(s) are in another status.

Students who have additional questions about the Exit Interview process should contact Student Financial Services at 585-475-5300 or via e-mail at asksfs@rit.edu.

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Federal Perkins Loan

Federal Perkins Loan—This federal loan is awarded by RIT to select students based on information reported on the FAFSA. The first priority for awarding federal Perkins Loans is students with exceptional financial need. Those students are RIT students who, at the time of awarding, plan to enroll full-time and have significant financial need remaining after all other federal, state and institutional funding has been exhausted.

The Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015 was signed into law on December 18, 2015. The Extension Act authorizes institutions of higher education to award new Perkins Loans to eligible students through September 30, 2017. Following are the terms and conditions of the Extension Act:

  • Federal Perkins Loan funds may only be used to pay educational expenses at RIT.
  • To be eligible to receive a Perkins Loan, students must have been awarded the maximum annual Direct Subsidized Loan and in certain cases the maximum annual Direct Unsubsidized Loan for which they are eligible. Undergraduate students can borrow up to $5,500 per year from the Federal Perkins Loan Program with an aggregate maximum of $27,500. Graduate or professional students can borrow up to $8,000 per year with a cumulative maximum of $60,000 including amounts borrowed as an undergraduate.
  • Repayment on the Federal Perkins Loan begins 9 months after a student drops below half-time enrollment. Students entering repayment will pay accrued interest at an annual rate of 5%. The full loan amount with all interest and fees is generally paid within ten (10) years. The minimum monthly payment is $40.00. The loan may be prepaid, payments can be made before required or in amounts that are greater than required at any time without penalty. In some circumstances the loan may be deferred for student status, economic hardship, unemployment, military service, or cancellation service. A Department of Defense repayment program may be available for specified military service. Payments and related correspondence can be sent to:
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    c/o Educational Computer Services-ECSI
    P.O. Box 718
    Wexford, PA 15090
  • No interest accrues on the loan while enrolled at least half-time (6 credits). The interest rate for the Federal Perkins Loan is fixed at 5%. First time Perkins Loan borrowers must complete a Rights and Responsibilities Form and a Master Perkins Promissory Note. Both documents can be completed online at www.ecsi.net/prom02.
  • Perkins loan borrowers will have their loans reported to one or more national credit bureaus on a monthly basis.
  • A Federal Perkins Loan may be considered in default if terms and conditions of the loan note are not followed. Defaulted loans may be subject to late fees, accelerated (full bance due and payable), referred to a collection agency, and/or litigated.
  • A late payment fee may be charged for each individual scheduled payment that is missed. If a delinquent account is referred to collections, a collection agency or an attorney for litigation, a borrower may be responsible to repay 100% of the cost to collect the loan including collection fees and litigation costs. This may include a percentage based collection fee system.
  • A Federal Perkins loan may be consolidated. Consolidating federal education loans can simplify payments, but it can also result in the loss of some benefits. Borrowers should weigh the pros and cons and decide if a Direct Consolidation Loan is right. More information can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/ and https://studentloans.gov.
  • Up to 100% of the original principal Perkins Loan amount may be forgiven if the borrower performs qualifying service in an eligible profession such as teaching, early intervention, law enforcement or corrections, nurse or medical technician, child or family service, attorney in a defender organization, firefighter, Tribal or University faculty, librarian, speech-language pathologist, service in an early childhood education program, military, and volunteer service.
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans have varying loan limits depending on year in school, dependency status, and amount awarded.

First time Perkins loan borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling which includes:

  1. Test your Understanding
  2. Read and Acknowledge your Perkins Loan Rights and Responsibilities
  3. Provide Reference Information
  4. Review Disclosure Statement

New borrowers will receive an email from ECSI, a third party loan servicer, directing them to complete these requirements on-line at http://www.ecsi.net/prom02.

Click on, “Get Started” and complete ALL of the requirements. If you cannot be authenticated to electronically sign the Promissory Note, you will have the opportunity to print your actual Promissory Note after you complete all of the Entrance Counseling steps. DO NOT complete and send us the sample Perkins Promissory Note.

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Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Parents of Undergraduate Students

Federal PLUS Loan—Federal Direct PLUS Loans are provided by the federal government to help parents of dependent undergraduate students finance their education. Parents may borrow up to the full annual cost of education less any other financial aid for each dependent undergraduate student. Current interest rates (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) are fixed at 6.31%. A 4.272% origination fee is deducted by the government from each loan disbursement.

To apply for the Direct PLUS Loan for Parents of Undergraduate Students, you must:

  1. Apply on-line or download a paper Federal Direct PLUS Loan application
  2. Complete an electronic Master Promissory Note

Federal PLUS Loan Deferments—As of July 1, 2009, parents may choose to defer payments until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

If you would like to defer repayment on your PLUS loan until 6 months after your son/daughter graduates or drops below half-time status, you should contact the Servicer of your PLUS loan. To determine your Loans Servicer, go to http://www.nslds.ed.gov.

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Federal PLUS Loans versus Private/Alternative Loans

  Federal PLUS Loan Alternative Loans

Borrower

Parent of a dependent undergraduate student.

Student is the borrower with a cosigner.

Credit Review

Minimal credit review, based on federal standards & credit history. Approval is not based on income, financial need or debt-to-income ratio.

Comprehensive credit review process required. Credit scoring and/or debt to income ratio may be reviewed.

Repayment

Parent is responsible for repayment.

Student is responsible for repayment. A co-signer is also equally liable. The loan and payment history are listed on the co-signer’s credit report as well as the student’s.

Interest Rate

Current rate is 6.31%. New interest rates are effective July 1.

Variable; can change monthly or quarterly. Usually no cap.

Capitalization of Interest

Once at repayment.

Can be as often as monthly.

Fees

A 4.272% origination fee is deducted proportionately from each disbursement.

Varies by lender.

Discharge

PLUS loans are federally insured and are discharged in the event of disability or death.

Alternative loans are not federally insured and may not offer discharge in the event of disability or death.

Payment Options

Payments may be deferred until 6 months after student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.

Payments may be deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time.

Deferment and/or Forbearance

Unemployment and hardship deferments are available.

Unemployment and hardship deferments are generally not available.

Consolidation

Can be consolidated in a federal Consolidation Loan.

Limited consolidation options available at a variable rate.

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Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students

Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students is a federal loan program provided to assist with remaining educational costs after the maximum federal Unsubsidized loans have been applied. Applicants must first file a FAFSA and must not have an adverse credit history. Otherwise, you must obtain a co-signer who does not have an adverse credit history.

Current interest rates (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) are fixed at 6.31%. A 4.272% origination fee is deducted by the government from each loan disbursement.

To apply for the Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students, you must:

  1. Apply on-line or download a paper Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan application
  2. Complete an electronic Master Promissory Note and Graduate PLUS Entrance Interview online.

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Federal PLUS Loan for Graduate Students versus Alternative Loans

  Federal PLUS Loan Alternative Loans

Borrower

Graduate student.

Graduate student. May require cosigner.

Credit Review

Minimal credit review, based on federal standards & credit history. Approval is not based on income, financial need or debt-to-income ratio.

Comprehensive credit review process required. Credit scoring and/or debt to income ratio may be reviewed.

Repayment

Payments may be deferred while a student/borrower is enrolled at least half-time. There is also a six-month grace period before payments are required.

Payments may be deferred while a student (borrower) is enrolled at least half-time. Inquire with the lender if payments are deferrable while attending school and if they offer a grace period.

Interest Rate

Current rate is 6.31%. New interest rates are effective July 1.

Variable; can change monthly or quarterly. Usually no cap.

Capitalization of Interest

Once at repayment.

Can be as often as monthly.

Fees

4.272% Origination Fee on or after Oct. 1, 2015

Varies by lender.

Discharge

PLUS loans are federally insured and are discharged in the event of disability or death.

Alternative loans are not federally insured and may not offer discharge in the event of disability or death.

Deferment and/or Forbearance

Unemployment and hardship deferments are available.

Unemployment and hardship deferments are generally not available.

Consolidation

Can be consolidated in a federal Consolidation Loan.

Limited consolidation options available at a variable rate.

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Federal Direct Loan Repayment Options

Federal Direct Loan borrowers have a number of repayment options. Information on those options, as well as information on Loan Consolidation, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and postponing repayment can be found at:

New York State (NYS) Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program

The NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief to recent NYS college graduates who are participating in a federal income-driven repayment plan whose payments are generally capped at 10 percent of their discretionary income.

This loan forgiveness program has been established for the purpose of alleviating the burden of federal student loan debt for NYS college graduates.

Eligibility requirements:

  • be a legal resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have graduated from a NYS high school or received a NYS high school equivalency diploma;
  • have earned an undergraduate degree from a college or university located in NYS in or after the 2014-15 academic year;
  • have earned no higher than a bachelor’s degree at the time of application; and
  • apply for this program within two years of receiving an undergraduate degree.
  • be enrolled in the federal Income Based Repayment plan or Pay as You Earn plan;
  • have a primary work location in NYS, if employed;
  • have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000;
  • be current on all federal or NYS student loans;
  • be current on the repayment of any NYS award;
  • be in compliance with the terms of any service condition imposed by a NYS award.

For more details on how to apply for the NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program, please refer to Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

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Alternative (non-federal) Loans

Alternative Educational Loans

Alternative educational loans are private loans (non-federal) offered through banks to supplement financial aid awards. RIT is required to certify these loans to ensure that the loan amount does not exceed the cost of attendance less all other financial aid. Most alternative loans are disbursed equally into student accounts according to enrollment plans. We suggest that students and families use alternative loans as a last option after first pursuing all federal loan options. If you decide that an alternative loan is right for you, you may borrow from any lender that you choose. When choosing a lender for an alternative loan, you may wish to consider the following factors:

  • Loan costs (interest rates and fees)
  • Borrower benefits and discounts
  • Customer service

We encourage students to review information on at least the factors listed above when choosing a lender for an alternative loan. You may also want to consider applying for a private student loan through a credit union. A credit union might be able to offer you a loan with an affordable interest rate, zero origination fees, and flexible repayment options. For additional information regarding responsible student loan borrowing and evaluating student loan lenders, visit the responsible student loan borrowing page.

When applying for your loan remember to request the amount of funds for the full academic year. Once your application has been approved with a credit check, we will certify your eligibility and schedule the disbursement of funds directly into your RIT account. Credit checks on alternative loans are only valid for a period of time that is determined by the lender. In many cases, the lenders use 180 days. An application completed too soon before the start of your first term may not be valid.

For more information and advice on how to research your alternative loan options, please refer to the following information offered by FinAid.org.

DISCLAIMER: Rochester Institute of Technology does not maintain a preferred lender list. Thus, the Institute 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 Institute’s policies, please refer to our Code of Conduct.

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State Educational Loans

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 alternative loans.
  • may have both fixed and variable interest rates available, depending on the state.

Not all state governments offer an educational loan program; to learn if your state has a state loan program contact your State Education Agency through the Department of Education’s Educational Resource Organizations Directory. To qualify for a state educational loan from any of the states listed below, you 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.

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Loan Borrowing History (National Loan Databases)

National Student Clearinghouse

The National Student Clearinghouse offers services to assist students to track their student loans and obtain verification of their in-school status. Secure Web-based services make it easy to access up-to-date information on loans and enrollment status.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. It receives data from schools and agencies that guaranty loans, the Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs.

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