Federal Direct Student Loans as Financial Aid

Federal Direct Loans are fixed-rate student loans funded by the US Department of Education to help students meet the cost of education. A general overview of the Direct Loan programs for graduate students is provided below. Additional information is available on the Federal Direct Loan website.

Federal Student Aid Tools & Resources

Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT): Federal Student Aid's online, interactive loan counseling tool. This online resource provides students with the basics of financial management and information about their federal student loan debt. The tool also estimates what a student’s student loan debt is likely to be when they leave school and provides financial planning and debt management tips.

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not subsidized; therefore, the borrower is responsible for interest for the entire life of the loan. Students may choose to pay interest as it accrues, or they may defer payments. Deferred interest will be added to the loan balance at repayment. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on need; therefore students who do not qualify for need-based aid may still apply for an Unsubsidized Direct Loan to meet educational expenses. The annual loan amount is $40,500. The annual loan amount is $20,500 for graduate students enrolled in programs other than the DVM program. The school will determine eligibility. The interest rate for loans disbursed between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, is 6.08%. The interest rate for new loans will be set every July 1st for the upcoming academic year. The loan origination fee for loans disbursed through September 30, 2019, will be 1.062% changing to 1.059% for loans with a first disbursement on or after October 1st.

Direct Graduate PLUS

The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a federal loan with a fixed interest rate of 7.08% through June 30, 2020, and a 4.248% loan origination fee.  The loan origination fee for loans with a first disbursement on or after October 1, 2019, will be 4.236%.  The interest rate on new loans is reset each July 1st for the upcoming year.  Borrowers are eligible to receive up to the cost of education minus all other aid received from all sources. The loan is not subsidized; therefore, the borrower is responsible for paying loan interest from the time the loan is disbursed. Payment of interest may be deferred during enrollment. Unpaid interest will be added to the loan balance at repayment.

Graduate PLUS loan borrowers must first apply and are approved for their Stafford Loan eligibility prior to borrowing a Graduate PLUS loan. In addition to meeting the general federal aid eligibility requirements, applicants must have a satisfactory credit history to qualify for a Graduate PLUS loan. Individuals who apply and are turned down due to credit issues are eligible to obtain an endorser (co-signer) and reapply.

Federal loans can be partially or fully pre-paid without penalty.

Direct Loan Application Process

Before applying for a federal loan, students must meet general eligibility requirements. Applicants should refer to the Cummings School financial aid application and instruction packet for additional information about other forms they must complete in order for the Financial Aid Office to determine their student loan eligibility.

Cummings School will determine loan eligibility based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and using a formula that takes into account the cost of education and other financial aid being received by the student.

After the student receives a notice of financial aid eligibility from the school, the student must take the following actions to receive a loan:

  1. Complete a Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan MPN if also applying for a Graduate PLUS loan.
  2. First-time Federal Direct Loan or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan borrowers at the Cummings School must complete student loan entrance counseling.
  3. Return your signed Financial Aid Notification to the Financial Aid Office. Your Financial Aid Notification (provided to you by the aid office after your application has been reviewed) authorizes the aid office to certify the loans you are requesting.