Student loans can be a valuable resource in financing your education. However, borrow conservatively -- accept only what you really need. Explore all options such as grants, scholarships, and employment before borrowing.
Federal Direct loans are guaranteed student loans for all FAFSA filers and do not require a credit check. Federal Direct Loans are borrowed by the student. Funding for the loan comes from the U.S. Department of Education. Direct loans are divided into two types: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Direct Subsidized Loan
Qualification for the Direct Subsidized Loan is based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The federal government pays the interest on this loan during periods of half-time attendance or more, during the six month grace period, and for periods of authorized deferment.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on need, but the amount for which you are eligible may vary depending on the results of the FAFSA and the amount of your other aid. Interest starts accruing from the first disbursement and continues until the loan is paid in full. Interest payments are not required while the student is in school at least half-time, but can be paid by choice without penalty. Interest is capitalized (added to the principal balance) and is included in your monthly payment once one or more of the following occur: enrollment ceases, the grace period expires, and/or a deferment period ends.
To be eligible for Direct Loans, you must meet the following requirements:
- have a completed FAFSA for the current academic year,
- enroll in at least half-time credits (6 credits for undergraduates, 5 credits for graduates (at the 500-level or above)),
- not be in default on previous federal loans,
- not have exceeded lifetime borrowing limits,
- have a completed Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file,
- have completed loan entrance counseling.
The origination fee for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans disbursed prior to October 1, 2017 is 1.069%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2017 is 1.066%. Fees are deducted from each disbursement.
Interest Rates (2017-2018)
- Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans - 4.45%
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans - 6%
These rates are fixed until the loan is paid in full or is consolidated. However, these rates will change yearly for any new loans borrowed.
Dependent Student Borrowing Limits
Grade Level Subsidized Loan Limit Unsubsidized Loan Limit
Freshman $3,500 $2,000
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000
Junior $5,500 $2,000
Senior $5,500 $2,000
Independent Student Borrowing Limits
|Grade Level||Subsidized Loan Limit||Unsubsidized Loan Limit|
Aggregate (Lifetime) Borrowing Limits
Student Type Lifetime Subsidized Limit Total Lifetime Limit
Dependent Students $23,000 $31,000
Independent Students $23,000 $57,500
Graduate Students N/A $138,500
The Direct Parent PLUS Loan is available to parents of dependent students and is not based on financial need. However, parents must have a sufficient credit rating to qualify. Parents may obtain a PLUS Loan to make up any difference between the student's cost of attendance and other financial aid.
The Direct Parent PLUS Loan can be borrowed by a parent of a dependent student. The student must have a completed FAFSA on file for the current academic year. The parent must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and have a sufficient credit rating to qualify.
The U.S. Department of Education determines credit score requirements and loan approval. If the loan is denied for credit purposes, borrowers may contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center for credit override instructions or how to include an endorser (co-signer) to the loan. Electronic loan counseling may be required. The Direct Loan Servicing Center can be reached at 800.557.7394.
If the loan is denied for credit purposes, another option is to allow the student to borrow additional Unsubsidized loan funds. Keep in mind, the additional Unsubsidized loan is very limited and may not replace the full amount of the PLUS loan offer.
The U.S. Department of Education charges a 4.276% origination fee on all Direct Parent PLUS Loans with their first disbursement prior to October 1st, 2017. PLUS loans with their first disbursement on or after October 1st, 2017 will have an origination fee of 4.264% at each disbursement.
The Direct Parent PLUS Loan fixed interest rate is 7% for 2017-2018.
Other Important Details
A Direct Parent PLUS Loan Request Form is required for each PLUS loan accepted. You may accept all or part of any loan offered, but you must indicate on this form the amount you wish to borrow.
2018-2019 Parent PLUS Loan Request Form (coming soon)
There is no grace period for PLUS loans. PLUS repayment begins as soon as the loan is fully disbursed; however, deferment options may be available. Contact your loan servicer for more information.
PLUS loans will always be in the parent's name. PLUS loans cannot be transferred or consolidated with the student's loans.
The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is available to graduate students who have not reached their full cost of attendance with other aid. The loan is in the student's name and is based on the student's credit rating.
You must be a fully-admitted graduate student taking at least 5 credits at the graduate level (500 or above), and you must complete a FAFSA.
The U.S. Department of education determines credit score requirements and loan approval. If the loan is denied for credit purposes, borrowers may contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center for credit override instructions or how to include an endorser (co-signer) to the loan. The Direct Loan Servicing Center can be reached at 800.557.7394.
The U.S. Department of Education charges a 4.276% origination fee on all PLUS Loans with their first disbursement prior to October 1st, 2017. PLUS loans with their first disbursement on or after October 1st, 2017 will have an origination fee of 4.264% at each disbursement.
The interest rate for 2017-2018 is 7%. These rates are fixed for the life of the loan.
Other Important Details
- There is no EWU application for a Graduate PLUS loan. Simply call or come into the Financial Aid and Scholarship office to request a Graduate PLUS loan.
- You must have a signed Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file for Direct Graduate PLUS Loans.
- You must complete Direct Graduate PLUS Loan entrance counseling prior to receiving the funds.
- Direct Graduate PLUS Loans do not have a grace period.
We strongly encourage all student loan borrowers to utilize http://www.saltmoney.org/, a free service to all EWU students. With SALT, you can track and manage your federal student loans, learn of repayment options, budgeting techniques, and much more.
Undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need, indicate a preference for loans on the FAFSA, and meet the priority funding deadlines are eligible for Perkins Loan. The interest rate is fixed at 5% and unlike the Direct Loans, there is no origination or default fee. This loan is being phased out by the federal government for all students after October 1, 2017 and is currently no longer available to graduate students.
Benefits of Perkins Loan
- Deferred repayment while in school at least half-time
- Interest free while in school
- Nine month grace period prior to repayment
- Repayment is to Eastern Washington University
- Cancellation benefits to those who qualify (contact Student Financial Services for more details)
Annual and Lifetime Borrowing Limits
- Annual Limit (Undergraduate) $5,500 (depending on availability of funds)
- Lifetime Limit (Undergraduate): $27,500
- Lifetime Limit (Graduate): $60,000
Alternative loans - also called private loans - are loans from a lending institution. They are not part of the federal government's guaranteed student loan programs. Based on current interest rates, if you, or your co-signer, have excellent credit, you may find these loans to be a less expensive option than the federal loans. Use the Alternative Loan Comparison chart and other resources to choose the loan that best meets your needs. It is always important to research your eligibility for scholarships, grants, and employment before taking out a loan.
Students who are enrolled, pass a credit check with their lender, and have not already funded their full cost of attendance with other aid sources are eligible to apply.
Interest Rate and Fees
The interest rates and fees vary by lender and credit rating.
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The APR is the annual cost of your loan; it includes interest and the effect of any fees and charges. APRs will differ depending on the terms and amounts of your loan. If the rate is variable, the APR may change during the life of the loan. Carefully consider the terms and APRs when you borrow an alternative loan.
- Fees: Does the lender charge any type of fees? Some lenders charge no fees at all, while some charge fees at the time they disburse, at repayment, or both.
- Loan Limits: Is there a maximum amount you can borrow? Does the loan have an annual or aggregate limit? Will these limits meet your needs?
- Co-Signer Release: Does the loan require you to have a co-signer? Does the lender offer a co-signer release option after you make a required number of on time payments?
- Interest Capitalization: What happens if you choose not to pay interest while you are in school? When is the interest added? If the interest is capitalized monthly, quarterly, or annually, the loan is more expensive than if the loan is capitalized once at repayment.
- Servicers: Does the lender sell their loans or contract with a servicer? Some lenders service their own loans; others may sell loans or contract with a service agency. If your loan is sold or serviced to another agency, all future correspondence and payments must go to the new agency.
- Benefits: Does the lender offer incentive rewards for on-time payments or prior banking history with the institution?
Credit Checks and Scores
Lenders use credit scores to make credit decisions to determine which applicants are likely to repay their loans on time. Credit scoring is calculated using many pieces of your past bill history. The way a person managed credit in the past is often a good indication of how they will manage credit in the future. Therefore, your credit score is like a snapshot of your level of credit risk at a particular time. So, give yourself the credit you deserve. Pay your bills on time and avoid applying for too many credit accounts. It is a good practice to periodically monitor your own credit report. You may obtain a copy of your credit report by contacting any or all of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax 800.685.1111, Experian 888.397.3742, or TransUnion 800.888.4213.
Alternative Loan Lender Information
The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at Eastern Washington University does not endorse or recommend lenders for alternative loans. To assist you in determining which lender is right for you, we have listed all lenders that have been used by EWU students within the last three years. This is not a preferred lender list nor does it represent every lender offering alternative loans. For a more convenient way to compare lenders, please visit http://www.elmselect.com/. On that site, you will be able to view a variety lenders and the loans they offer. You can also apply for a loan though that site.
Students are encouraged to apply for alternative loans with a co-signer because this often means a better chance of approval and a lower interest rate.
Once you have been approved by a lender to borrow through their program, the lender will contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office for certification of the loan. The amount you receive cannot exceed the cost of attendance minus other aid.
|Lenders||Loan Name||Phone||Apply Online|
|Alaska Student Loan Corp||Alaska Supplemental|
*Alaska residents only
|Commerce Bank||Your Future Education Loan|| |
|Discover Student Loans||Discover Undergraduate and Graduate Loans|
*requires half-time enrollment
|800.788.3368 or 1.800.STUDENT||discoverstudentloans.com|
|Sallie Mae||Smart Option Student Loan||855.756.5626||salliemae.com|
|SunTrust Bank||Custom Choice||866.232.3889||suntrusteducation.com|
Repayment of federal student loans is required six months after leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment. Your loans will be assigned by the US Department of Education to a loan servicer. The loan servicer is who you will pay back and who you will contact if you have questions regarding your loans. To find out who your loan servicer is, log onto www.nslds.ed.gov. You will need your FSA ID and password.
A great way to manage your student loans and learn of different repayment plans is to create a SALT account at www.saltmoney.org. Once logged in, use the Know What You Owe tool. This tool will import your loans from NSLDS and will allow you to use calculators, repayment scenarios, and budgeting plans that are customized to your outstanding loans. SALT also provides free counselling with professional loan experts to assist you with your loan questions.