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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 Unsubsidized Loan

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

Please 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 qualifying process for federal financial assistance. Please note that students must meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for this loan.

If you have received a Federal Direct Unsubsidied Loan offer 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 Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. You will need your FAFSA Pin Number in order to log in to the website.

How much can I borrow?

Eligible students may borrow up to $20,500 from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program each year.  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 during periods of enrollment and the grace period or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and capitalize (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). Capitalizing the interest will 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 October 1, 2014, the current fixed interest rate is 6.21% for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. There is an origination fee of 1.073% 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).

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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 this loan is part of your financial aid offer 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% for the Perkins Loan. 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).

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Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

How do I apply for this loan?

Please 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 and re-qualify each year.

If you have received a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan offer you may begin the application process. Please proceed to the U.S. Department of Education's website, www.studentloans.gov, to complete the three steps; 1) Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note, 2) PLUS Request Process and 3) Entrance Counseling. You will need your FAFSA Pin Number in order to log in to the website. Please make sure that you complete your using your legal name and the same name used on your FAFSA.

Returning borrowers offered a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and/or if you wish to borrow additional funds, you must complete the "PLUS Request Process" on http://www.studentloans.gov after your loan has been added to your financial aid package. If you were required to use an  endorser  to qualify for the FD Graduate PLUS loan then you will need to complete a new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note in addition to the PLUS Request Process. 

You will also be required to pass a credit check for this loan, which is part of the PLUS Request Process. 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.

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

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 October 1, 2014, the interest rate for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is fixed at 7.21%. There is an origination fee of 4.292% of the loan amount that will be deducted proportionately at each disbursement.  Interest begins to accrue (accumulate) from the date of disbursement and continues to accrue and capitalize (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan) during any period of deferment or forbearance as well as during repayment. Remember, capitalizing the interest will increase the amount you will have to repay over the life of the loan.

When do I begin repaying the loan?

Repayment of your 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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