Graduate Programs Financial Aid
There are two federal loans available to you, the Stafford Loan and the Graduate PLUS. Each loan requires that an annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) be completed and that you be enrolled at least half-time (at least 3 credit hours per semester). Since interest rates and fees are lower on Federal Stafford loans, you are encouraged to take advantage of Stafford loans before taking a Graduate PLUS loan.
1. Stafford Loan
Federal Stafford loans are fixed-rate student loans for graduate students attending a college at least half-time. Stafford loans are the most common and one of the lowest-cost ways to pay for school. Stafford Loans for graduate students are all unsubsidized, which means the borrower is responsible for the interest on the loan while in college and during grace and deferment periods. The fixed interest rate for the 2014-2015 academic year is 6.21%, and there is a 1.072% origination fee. The origination fee will be changing for any loans that first disburse on or after October 1, 2014. The annual loan limit is $20,500 per academic year. There are a variety of repayment plans available for Stafford Loans once your loan goes into repayment. Your loan servicer will be able to help you plan what is best for you.
2. Graduate PLUS Loan
The Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed interest rate student loan guaranteed by the U.S. Government. The interest rate for the 2014-2015 academic year is 7.21% and there is a 4.288% origination fee. The origination fee will be changing for any loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2014. The Graduate PLUS loan is a non-need based loan (cosigner is not required) similar to a private student loan with the benefit of having a fixed interest rate and federal guarantee. The Graduate PLUS loan allows you to borrow the total cost of your graduate school needs, including tuition, room and board, supplies, lab expenses, and travel, less any other aid. Graduate PLUS payments can be deferred while you are in school, but the interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your loan balance. It is recommended that accrued interest be paid while you are in school as this will greatly reduce your long term loan debt.
Applying for a federal loan
- To apply for a Federal Stafford or Graduate PLUS loan, students should apply directly through Messiah College and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
- You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a confidential statement of your income and assets.
- As a graduate student, you are independent, so no financial information will be required from your parents.
- When you complete your FAFSA, make sure you indicate that you will be attending graduate school. Messiah College's Title IV code is 003298.
- Additional information about the Federal Student Aid program can be found at studentloans.gov and student aid on the web.