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Office of Financial Aid

Types of Financial Aid

Loan Programs

Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are available to students enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours) in a degree-seeking program who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. Loans have to be repaid, so you are encouraged to only borrow the amount of loan that you actually need to cover your educational expenses.

The maximum loan amounts for an academic year are $5,500 for first-year undergraduates, $6,500 for second-year undergraduates, $7,500 for third- and fourth-year undergraduates, and $20,500 for graduate students. Students considered independent of parental support for financial aid purposes or whose parents cannot borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan may be eligible for additional loan amounts.

The maximum aggregate (total) loan amounts are $31,000 for dependent students ($23,000 of this may be in subsidized loans), $57,500 for independent students ($23,000 of this may be in subsidized loans), and $138,500 for graduate students ($65,500 of this may be in subsidized loans). The graduate student aggregate includes Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.

The U.S. Department of Education charges a loan fee on the principal amount of each Stafford loan, deducted proportionately from each disbursement of the loan. For loans disbursing after 9/30/14, the loan fee is 1.073%.

Begin the process by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must accept or decline the loan award(s) through Wingspan or by completing a Loan Adjustment Request.

First-time loan borrowers will need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at the Direct Loan Servicing Center. Winthrop University will receive electronic notification when these requirements have been completed.

You must be enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours) to receive a Direct Loan disbursement. Once all award requirements have been met, your financial aid will be credited to your student account. For more information, please visit Applying for Aid.

Returning students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, have remaining loan eligibility, and meet the Stafford Loan awarding requirements each academic year to continue eligibility for the Stafford Loan program.

Repayment: You will receive a six-month grace period before beginning loan repayment after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. During this period, you should receive repayment information from your loan servicer and be notified of when your first payment is due. However, you are responsible for beginning repayment on time, even if you do not receive this information. You may create a sample loan repayment schedule and review loan repayment options online.

Students must complete exit counseling whenever his/her enrollment drops below half-time. Winthrop University will receive electronic notification when exit counseling has been completed.

To view data on the federal student loans and grants you have received, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are for undergraduate students with financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The federal government pays the interest on the loan ('subsidizes' the loan) while you are attending school at least half-time. For 2014-2015 the fixed rate is 4.66%. The interest rate will apply for the life of the loan.  As a result, if you borrow loans each year, it is likely that each loan will have a different fixed interest rate. You may choose to begin payments on the loan while you are in school. Contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center for further information.

As a result of legislation enacted in July 2012, eligibility for the Direct Loan interest subsidy will be limited for new borrowers (no student loans prior to July 1, 2013). New borrowers may only receive subsidized loans, up to 150 percent of the published length of the student’s current educational program. Once the student reaches that limit, he or she may borrow only unsubsidized loans, and interest begins to accrue on the student’s outstanding subsidized loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are non-need based federal loans. If you qualify for an unsubsidized loan, you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. For 2014-2015 the fixed interest rate is 4.66% (undergraduate students) and 6.21% (graduate students). The interest rate will apply for the life of the loan.  As a result, if you borrow loans each year, it is likely that each loan will have a different fixed interest rate. While attending school, you may choose to begin payments on the loan, pay just the interest, or allow interest to accrue. Students make this decision during the loan application process; however, the decision can be changed at any time by contacting the Direct Loan Servicing Center.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students

Graduate students can borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan to help cover educational expenses. The maximum PLUS Loan amount you can borrow is your cost of attendance less Federal Direct Stafford Loans and other estimated financial assistance. Loans have to be repaid, so you are encouraged to only borrow the amount of loan that you actually need to cover your educational expenses.

The PLUS Loan has a fixed interest rate of 7.21% for the 2014-2015 academic year. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The interest rate will apply for the life of the loan. As a result, if you borrow loans each year, it is likely that each loan will have a different fixed interest rate. The U.S. Department of Education charges a loan fee, deducted proportionately each disbursement of the loan.  For loans disbursing after 9/30/14, the loan fee is 4.292%.

To apply for the PLUS Loan, please complete the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid. You must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), be enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program, and not have an adverse credit history. The completed PLUS Loan request will be submitted to the Direct Loan Servicing Center for approval. Please note that the Office of Financial Aid is not authorized to approve or deny requests for PLUS Loans.

First-time PLUS Loan borrowers will need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at the Direct Loan Servicing Center. Winthrop University will receive electronic notification when these requirements have been completed.

You must be enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours) to receive a PLUS Loan disbursement. Once all award requirements have been met, your financial aid will be credited to your student account. For more information, please visit Applying for Aid.

Returning students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress and submit a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form to be considered for a PLUS Loan in future academic years.

Repayment: The first payment is due within 60 days after the final PLUS Loan disbursement. However, you may defer repayment while you are enrolled at least half-time. If your PLUS Loan was first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008 you may also defer repayment for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time. You should receive repayment information from your loan servicer and be notified of when your first payment is due. However, you are responsible for beginning repayment on time, even if you do not receive this information. You may create a sample loan repayment schedule and review loan repayment options online.

Students must complete exit counseling whenever his/her enrollment drops below half-time. Winthrop University will receive electronic notification when exit counseling has been completed.

To view data on the federal student loans and grants you have received, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).


For more information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.