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Federal Student Loan Options for Graduate/Professional Students

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is our firm belief that students should borrow only when absolutely necessary, and then only to the extent that is needed. We encourage that serious and deliberate consideration be given to making any borrowing decision.

Federal Direct Loans

How do I apply for this loan and am I eligible?

NOTE: The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is no longer available to graduate/professional students beginning with the 2012-2013 award year. 

We ask that you first read all of the following information about the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. View the Graduate/Professional instructions on application process, should you have questions regarding the application process for financial assistance. Please note that students must meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for these loans.

If you have received a financial aid notification letter from our office and a Federal Direct Unsubsidied Loan has already been awarded to you, you may begin the application process. Please proceed to the U.S. Department of Education's website, www.studentloans.gov, to complete the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. You will need your FAFSA Pin Number in order to login to the website.

How much can I borrow?

You can borrow up to $20,500 in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  You are responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it's repaid in full. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). Capitalizing the interest will obviously increase the amount you will have to repay over the life of the loan.

What is the interest rate and what fees are charged for these loans?

Effective July 1, 2014, the current interest rate for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is fixed at 6.21%. There is an origination fee of 1.072% of the loan amount that will be deducted proportionately at each disbursement.

When do I begin repaying the loan?

Repayment of Federal Direct Loans plus any accumulated interest begins six months (called the grace period) after you drop below half-time enrollment status (normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason).

Federal Perkins Loans

How do I apply for this loan and am I eligible?

We ask that you first read all of the following information about Federal Perkins Loans. NOTE: Only those students who demonstrate an exceptional level of federal eligibility are eligible to receive this loan. View the Graduate/Professional instructions should you have questions regarding the application process for financial assistance. If you are awarded this loan, and you are a new Federal Perkins Loan borrower then you will need to complete the Perkins Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note. Begin the application process here.

How much can I borrow?

You can borrow up to $8,000 for each year of graduate/professional study. The actual amount you may receive depends on your level of exceptional federal eligibility and the level/availability of Perkins Loan funds.

What is the interest rate and what fees are charged for this loan?

The interest rate is fixed at 5%. There are no other fees for this loan, and interest on the loan does not begin to accrue until the loan enters repayment.

When do I begin repaying the loan?

Repayment begins nine months (called the grace period) after you drop below half-time enrollment status (normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason).

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

How do I apply for this loan?

We ask that you first read all of the following information about Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. Other general eligibility requirements for federal student financial aid may also apply. View the Graduate/Professional instructions should you have questions regarding the application process for financial assistance. Please note that students must meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for these loans.

If you have received a financial aid notification letter from our office and a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan has already been awarded to you then you may begin the application process. Please proceed to the U.S. Department of Education's website, www.studentloans.gov, to complete the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), the PLUS Request Process and Entrance Counseling. You will need your FAFSA Pin Number in order to login to the website. Please make sure that you complete your MPN with your legal name and the same name used on your FAFSA.

If you borrowed a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and if you wish to borrow additional funds, you should complete the "PLUS Request Process" on www.studentloans.gov after you receive your financial aid award notification. If you had to use an  endorser then you will need to complete a new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note in addition to the PLUS Request Process. 

You may contact our office at finaid@vanderbilt.edu if you need further details or are interested in these loans and they are not part of your financial aid award package.

You will also be required to pass a credit check for this loan. If you don't pass the credit check, you might still be able to receive a loan if someone, such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check, agrees to endorse the loan. (An endorser promises to repay the loan if you fail to do so.) The online endorser process is preferred and it can also be completed at www.studentloans.gov.

How much can I borrow?

The yearly limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you (the student) receive. If your cost of attendance is $54,000, for example, and you receive $40,000 in other financial aid, you can borrow up to an additional $14,000.

What is the interest rate and fees for this loan?

Effective July 1, 2014, the interest rate is fixed at 7.21%. There is an origination fee of 4.288% of the loan amount that will be deducted proportionately at each disbursement.  Interest begins to accrue from the date of disbursement and continues to accrue during any period of deferment or forbearance as well as during repayment.

When do I begin repaying the loan?

Repayment of the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans plus all accumulated interest begins six months after you drop below half-time enrollment status (normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason).


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(615) 322-3591
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