What to consider before taking out a loan
Furthering your education is an important decision, including how you will finance it. Taking out a federal loan is a big decision because unlike grants and scholarships, you will eventually need to pay it back. Therefore, when contemplating loans consider the following:
- The pace at which you plan to complete the degree
- Whether this is something you could financially sustain without loans
- Whether you have any personal supporters who would be able to help
- And whether you would like to obtain a private loan.
The benefits of federal financial aid include a fixed interest rate, a thoughtful repayment timeline after you finish school or drop below part-time status, repayment options that include deferment for financial reasons, and a potential to have a portion forgiven. Check out how to apply here.
Once application steps are completed and you've secured your loan, you will be able to utilize your federal loan throughout the academic year. It will be evenly distributed over 4 terms.
Deciding if you’d like to take out a federal loan is up to you and the Online Learning Team is happy to talk through any concerns or questions you may have. Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government loans taken out by students attending Westminster will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.
For more detailed information about the government loan program at Westminster please see the section on the Federal Financial Aid Application Process. Students ineligible for government loans may qualify to apply for private (bank) educational loans. Private loans can be very competitive with the rates of the federal loans.The interest rates are dependent on the individual’s credit score and there are occasions when the private loan rate is actually lower than the federal rate. If you’re interested in learning more about this option, be sure to compare the benefits of Federal and Private loans.
Paying tuition and fees with a direct loan
If you plan to pay for your tuition and fees with a Direct or Graduate PLUS Loan, your loan, originated by Westminster, must be fully approved by the Department of Education before your enrollment date (first day of classes). Under normal circumstances, the loan process can take a minimum of four (4) weeks after receiving all application materials for your loan to be fully approved. Direct and Graduate PLUS loans are approved in the form of a letter from the Financial Aid Office. Those students who have applied for a government loan and have not received written approval before the first day of the term will be required to pay their tuition and fees in full or to pay their tuition via an installment payment plan according to the terms outlined above.
In certain situations, students may appeal for a re-evaluation of their eligibility for financial assistance. Students must write an appeal letter, stating their situation and reason for the appeal. Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office and students will be notified of their decision within a two week period.