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Loan Options

Financial aid is based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a measure of your or your family's financial position. The EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. To determine your EFC, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We have provided details on completing the FAFSA on our "How to Apply" page.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan

This loan is for students who are US citizens/Permanent Residents and is not based on financial need.  The interest rate for the 2014-2015 academic year is fixed at 5.41% with a 1.071% origination fee.  The federal government does not pay the interest on this loan, the interest accrues while the student is in school and can either be paid quarterly or can be capitalized at Repayment, meaning the interest would be added to the loan amount borrowed.   Repayment begins six months after graduation (or dropping below half time enrollment) and continues for up to ten years.  There are no penalties or fees if the student prepays their loan in part or in full.

To secure the loan:

Failure to sign the MPN and Entrance Counseling will result in cancellation of the loan.

Graduate Direct PLUS Loan

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a federally funded loan that enables graduate students to borrow up to the full cost of attendance less any other financial aid received. Here are details about this loan program:

  • The interest rate on a PLUS loan is 6.41% with a 4.288% origination fee.
  • Disbursements are made in equal installments over the semesters within an academic year.
  • Interest accures after the first disbursement, but the first payment is not due until approximately 60 days after the loan fully disburses.
  • The repayment period is ten years, although there are extended and graduated plans available. 
  • The principal payment may be deferred for up to 4 years while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Interest will accrue during deferment and can be paid quarterly or capitalized.
  • Loans will not be certified for a partial period of enrollment (i.e., single semester) unless it is the student's final period of enrollment for that academic year.

To apply for the PLUS Loan, you will go to the Direct Loan website and follow these three steps:

  1. Complete the application
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's PIN
    b) Choose "Complete PLUS Request Process"
    c) Select "Graduate PLUS"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the application
  2. Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's PIN
    b) Choose "Complete Master Promissory Note"
    c) Select "Graduate PLUS"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the MPN (print a copy and keep for your records)
  3. Complete Entrance Counseling
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's PIN
    b) Choose "Complete Entrance Counseling"
    c) Select that you are a student
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the Entrance Counseling (the counseling session will take approximately 30 minutes)

If you need assistance determining the amount to request for the PLUS Loan that would incorporate the 4.288% origination fee, please contact your assigned financial aid officer.

Students who are denied a PLUS Loan will have a couple options:

  1. You can contest the credit decision on your PLUS Loan application by appealing directly to the Direct Loan program.  More information is available by logging into the Direct Loan website.
  2. You can choose to add an endorser to your PLUS Loan application in order to get credit approved.  To add an endorser, you and your endorser can go to the Direct Loan website

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans are available through several lending agencies. Most loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer a fixed interest rate. Simmons College strongly recommends securing a loan with a fixed-interest rate. Interest rates can also vary widely from lender to lender for the same borrower. We recommend that students interested in an alternative loan compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be.

NOTE: Simmons College does not recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students.

There are many lenders available who offer alternative loans. To help you find a lender, we recommend reviewing these sites:

  • FinAid.org provides a list of the more popular lenders. Be advised that the FinAid.org list is very limited and will not provide you with a comprehensive list of all available lenders.

You may find the following tools helpful in researching alternative loans:

How to Sign Your Federal Loan Promissory Note

Once you've been awarded a loan, go to studentloans.gov and click the link to complete a new Master Promissory Note (MPN). Then, follow the instructions and prompts on each page until you are given the message "SUCCESS! Now Print Your MPN."

To sign the Master Promissory Note, you will need several pieces of information:

  • The borrower's PIN (a PIN can be obtained, or a duplicate requested, at www.pin.ed.gov)
  • The borrower's driver's license number
  • The names, completed addresses, and phone numbers for two references living at two separate addresses. One should be a family member.