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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 (located on the back of your award), you and your family have decided on an amount to borrow in PLUS loan funds. Click here to calculate your PLUS Loan for the 2013-2014 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 2013-2014 Interest Rates

Congress has passed and the President has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which 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.

The following table provides the interest rates for new Direct Loans made on or after July 1, 2013, and before July 1, 2014. These rates will apply to all new Direct Loans made during this time, even loans already disbursed before the passage of the Act.

Effective for Loans With a First Disbursement on or After July 1, 2013
Loan Type Student Grade Level Cohort Index Rate Add-On 2013-2014 Fixed Interest Rate Interest Rate Cap
First Disbursed On/After First Disbursed Before 10-Year Treasury Note Index
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 7/1/13 7/1/14 1.81% 2.05% 3.86% 8.25%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 7/1/13 7/1/14 1.81% 2.05% 3.86% 8.25%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate/Professional Students 7/1/13 7/1/14 1.81% 3.60% 5.41% 9.50%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students and Graduate/Professional Students 7/1/13 7/1/14 1.81% 4.60% 6.41% 10.50%
Direct Consolidation Loans N/A Consolidation Loan Application Received on or after July 1, 2013 Interest rate remains the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans included in the consolidation, rounded up to the next higher one-eighth of one percent. New law removes the 8.25% cap.

View our chart of historical interest rates from 2008-2013.

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 (No more than $8,500 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
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. The interest rate Unsubsidized Graduate Direct Loans is 5.41%. An origination fee is deducted by the government from each loan disbursement.

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. No interest accrues on the loan while you are 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. You may also complete these documents in person at the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Students who borrowered a Federal Perkins Loan can complete their Exit Interview session online at http://www.ecsi.net/.

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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. Effective July 1, 2006 the interest rate is fixed at 6.41%. A 4.204% 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. Complete a Federal Direct PLUS Loan application
  2. Complete an electronic Master Promissory Note

Federal PLUS Loan Deferments—Prior to July 1, 2009, the repayment of PLUS loan principal and interest typically began 60 days after the final disbursement is sent to the school. As of July 1, 2009, parent 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.

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 6.41%. New rate determined July 1.

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

Capitalization of Interest

Once at repayment.

Can be as often as monthly.

Fees

Up to 4.204%, 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

Loans disbursed after July 1, 2008: 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 Subsidized and 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.

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students interest rate is fixed at 5.41%. A 4.204% origination fee is deducted by the government from each loan disbursement.

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

  1. Complete a 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 no grace period.

Payments may be deferred while a student is enrolled at least half-time. There is also a 6 month grace period.

Interest Rate

Current rate is 5.41%. New rate determined July 1.

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

Capitalization of Interest

Once at repayment.

Can be as often as monthly.

Fees

Up to 4.204%, 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.

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:

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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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