As you are deciding what loans to borrow and for how much, be sure to borrow only what you need to cover your tuition and fees. It can be very tempting to borrow more than just what you need, but remember: the decisions you make now impact your future. We are here to help. Should you have any questions regarding these loan options, please contact our office.
Federal Direct Student Loan
The Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program is a guaranteed student loan that allows students to borrow money toward their education and is deferred while the student is in school. However, interest accrues on the unsubsidized loan and can either be paid while the student is school or deferred. The interest rate is fixed and is based upon the type of loan that you are awarded. For the 2015-2016 academic year, undergraduates loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized are fixed at 4.29%; graduate students are only eligible for an unsubsidized loan and their interest rate is fixed at 5.84%. Interest rates for 2014-2015 are 4.66% for undergraduate students and 6.21% for graduate students. More information about the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program can be found online.
New borrowers of the Federal Direct Stafford Loan are required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and loan counseling, called “entrance counseling”. Loan funds cannot be credited to your student account until these steps have been completed. Both steps are completed online at www.studentloans.gov
- Click on the green “Log In” link in the upper right-hand corner – you will need your FSA ID to sign in
- Once logged in, click on “Complete Master Promissory Note” and then select “subsidized/unsubsidized” (both undergraduate and graduate students) and follow the instructions from there.
- Once the MPN is completed, go back to the main page and click on “entrance counseling”.
- We will be notified electronically within 24-48 hours after completion.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan
Please note: payments on PLUS Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2008 may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Parents need to request this from the Department of Education. Interest will accrue and may be paid or added to the principal.
The Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is a loan borrowed by the parent on behalf of the student. Parents can borrow up to the cost of education less any financial aid the student has already received. The interest rate for loans borrowed for the 2015-2016 academic year is 6.84%; loans borrowed for the 2014-2015 academic year is 7.21%. Repayment on this loan begins once the loan has been fully disbursed, which is typically in January or February of the academic year in which the loan has been borrowed. This loan is not guaranteed and is based upon credit-worthiness. Should you apply and be denied this loan for any reason, the student is automatically eligible for an unsubsidized loan for either $4,000 (for freshman and sophomores) or $5,000 (for juniors and seniors). You can also elect to re-apply with an endorser.
More information about the Federal Direct PLUS Loan can be found online by clicking here.
To apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan
Your parent logs on to www.studentloans.gov using their FSA ID to apply directly with the Department of Education. The outcome of the PLUS Loan application will be sent to Hiram College electronically 24-48 hours after it has been processed by the Department of Education. If approved, we will incorporate the PLUS Loan as part of your financial aid award. If denied, you do have the ability to reapply with an endorser or appeal the credit decision. If neither of these are an option, the student is eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan in their name as described above.
Once approved, you will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN), which is completed online at www.studentloans.gov. Please note that you will need a FAFSA PIN to electronically sign the MPN. If you do not already have a FAFSA PIN, you can apply for one at www.pin.ed.gov.
Federal Perkins Loan Information
The Federal Perkins Loan is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. Interest is deferred while the student is enrolled in college at least half-time in a degree program. The interest is fixed at 5% and repayment begins nine months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time or graduates.
First-time borrowers will be required to complete a Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note and Disclosure Statement, which will be mailed to your permanent address late summer.
Please note: Current federal regulations indicate that the 2015-2016 academic year will be the last year the Federal Perkins Loan program will be available to new borrowers. Any new student awarded this loan should not count on this loan being available beyond 2015-2016. Any returning borrowers (students that received this loan during the 2014-2015 academic year) are grandfathered in the current legislation and will remain eligible for this loan program for an additional 5 years, provided they are in the same program they were when they received their most recent Federal Perkins Loan disbursement.
Private Loan Programs
Lender List Rationale
Hiram College carefully reviews lenders’ policies and products each year to find the best rates and service for our students. After an extensive review, we have compiled this list of lenders based upon past experience and qualifications to help you select your lender for your private alternative loan. These lenders offer excellent customer service and offer online tools that make applying for and managing your loans easy. Along with excellent customer service, Hiram College is committed to choosing lenders who offer outstanding benefits to our students. The lenders included in this list offer savings to the borrower in the form of interest rate reductions, principal reductions, rewards and/or rebates.
You should always maximize your federal aid first. While at first glance it may seem easier to borrow all of your loan funds through one loan program, the alternative loans tend to carry higher, variable interest rates than the Stafford Loan. If you still have a balance after you have exhausted your federal, state and institutional grant and loan options, you can look to an alternative loan to fill in the difference. As stated above, be sure to borrow just what you need and do your research. A little time spent now can save you money in the future. There are many alternative loan programs available to students and not all loans are the same. They vary greatly and some of the things to pay attention to in your research is the interest rate (and how it is determined), repayment options, co-signer release, and fees.
You are not required to use the lenders that are listed here. Should you choose to borrow from a lender that is not listed, please contact our office so that we can counsel you on the process you need to follow to ensure timely processing of your loan.
Completing an EXIT Interview
This link is only to be used by students who have been directed to complete an online exit interview for their Federal Stafford Loan because they have withdrawn from Hiram College and/or transferred to another school: http://www.studentloans.gov/