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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Loans

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Federal Student Loans

Subsidized Federal Direct Loan

"Subsidized" means that the federal government pays the interest on your behalf while you attend college at least half-time and six months thereafter. Eligibility is based on financial need. The Department of Education may retain a percentage (currently 1.069%) of the amount you borrow for an origination fee. The annual interest rate is a fixed rate equal to the high yield Treasury Note as of June 1st plus 2.05%.  The 2016-2017 interest rate is 3.76%. You will repay interest plus principal beginning six months after you graduate, registered for less than six credits, or leave school.  The monthly payment varies depending on the total amount borrowed. The standard repayment term is 10 years. 

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan

"Unsubsidized" means that the federal government does not pay the interest on your behalf while you attend college at least half-time. Interest begins accruing while you are in school at the time of disbursement. You may choose to make interest payments while in school.  Should you choose not to make payments while you are in school, interest accrued will be added to the principal amount borrowed. The annual interest rate, loan origination fee and loan repayment term are the same as in the Subsidized loan program. 

Federal Perkins Loan

A need-based loan program administered by Rensselaer. The interest rate is 5%, with a 10-year repayment period beginning 9 months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled as a half-time student. The loan is interest-free while you attend college at least half-time. You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive this loan. We will notify you later via email of the next steps to get this loan. 

Note:  The Perkins Loan Program is scheduled to be ended by US Department of Education on September 30, 2017.

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Direct PLUS Loan for Parents

The Office of Financial Aid certifies Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) through the Federal Direct Lending Program. Federal funds are borrowed directly from the Department of Education. The Parent PLUS Loan is available to parents of dependent, undergraduate students who are matriculated in a degree program and enrolled in at least six (6) credits.

Parent borrower must not have adverse credit history to participate in this program. Parents of dependent students may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance minus any other aid through this credit-based loan program each academic year. Only one parent can borrow (per application) through this loan program.

The student for which the parent is requesting a Federal Direct PLUS loan must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to participate in this program. 

Application Procedures

Once logged into www.studentloans.gov (with the parent borrower’s log in information), the parent borrower would select the “Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan” on the home page. A borrower is encouraged to review needed items for this process by selecting the “Learn More” link under the Direct PLUS Application for Parents (type).

Use the blue START button under the Direct PLUS Loan Application for Parents type to complete the process.

NOTE: If you (the parent) HAVE borrowed under the PLUS program previously for the student currently attending RPI there is nothing more you need to do. If you HAVE NOT borrowed for the student attending RPI you will also need to complete a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (see below), and complete Use of PLUS Loan Funds Form (on the last page).

Tips for the application process:

  1. So that you don’t have to apply more than once per academic year, consider borrowing for the full academic year rather than by term.
  2. Be sure to use parent borrower Social Security Number, not the student’s in the parent borrower section.
  3. You are presented with several choices for loan amount requested:
    • Borrow maximum amount – With this option, RPI will determine your maximum eligibility.
    • Borrow specific amount – Choosing this option we will certify for the amount you requested if possible.
    • Borrow a new total loan amount – This option would only be presented if you already have a PLUS loan for the year and are seeking additional PLUS loan. We will certify for the amount you have requested if possible.
    • I don’t know the amount I want to borrow – DO NOT choose this option; if you do the loan application WILL NOT be processed. Contact our office if you need assistance in determining the amount you need to borrow.
  4. The loan amount you are eligible to receive will be equally disbursed over the period you have selected below. For example, a $10,000 amount requested for the period fall/spring would result in two disbursements of $4,786 – one for each term ($5,000 / term minus 4.276% origination fee required in the PLUS loan program).
  5. Select the appropriate loan period (i.e. Fall and Spring, Fall Only, Spring Only). If the loan period you wish to use is not displayed, then choose other and enter the begin and end date of the loan period you want. Application information and results are sent to us electronically and are generally received within a week from submission. Credit approval will be limited to 180 days.
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Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students

The Office of Financial Aid certifies Graduate PLUS through the Federal Direct Loan Program. Federal funds are borrowed directly from the Department of Education. The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to a graduate student who is matriculated in a degree program and enrolled in at least six (6) credits and does not have adverse credit history.  Consider borrowing under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program before borrowing under the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan program The student must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to participate in this program. Please visit http://www.fafsa.gov to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA.  

Additional Information 

  • The current fixed interest rate in the Graduate PLUS program is 7%.  
  • Repayment begins 60 days after the funds are disbursed unless the borrower requests a deferment which allows no payments to be made while the student is enrolled, but interest on the loan is capitalized if not paid by the borrower during the deferment.  
  • Federal regulation requires that a 4.276% origination fee is deducted from the gross amount borrowed if after 10/1/2016.  
  • Submission of the Department of Education online Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form does not guarantee approval for the amount you request.  Eligibility is subject to change based upon completion of required documents, our review of the student’s other financial aid, and approval from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Requested PLUS loan amounts will not be considered for billing purposes until we receive approval/denial notification from the U.S. Department of Education or approximately two weeks after the semester for which the funds are intended, whichever comes first.   
Application Procedures

Once logged into www.studentloans.gov (using your FSA ID and password), select the “Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan” on the home page. You are encouraged to review needed items for this process by selecting the “Learn More” link under the Direct PLUS Application for Graduate / Professional Students (type). 

Under the heading Direct PLUS Loan Application for Graduate/Professional Students click on the blue START button to initiate the application process. 

NOTE:  If you HAVE borrowed under the Graduate PLUS loan program while attending RPI there is nothing more you need to do.  If you HAVE NOT borrowed under the program previously while attending RPI, then you will need to complete a Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (see below) and participate in entrance loan counseling session. 

Sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN)

If approved for a Graduate PLUS you must complete a Graduate PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN). You may complete your MPN by visiting www.studentloans.gov.  You will need your FSA ID and user password to complete the MPN online. The Master Promissory Note is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). The MPN is valid for up to 10 years.  It must be completed in order for your Direct Loan funds to be disbursed to your student account.  Rensselaer will be informed electronically when you have successfully completed this requirement:

  1. Go to www.studentloans.gov
  2. Log in using your FSA User ID and password.
  3. Click “Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)
  4. Use START button next to PLUS MPN for Graduate / Professional Students type.  Follow prompts through completion. Be aware that information is not saved if not submitted.
Complete Entrance Counseling

All first time borrowers in the Direct Loan program must complete an Entrance Counseling session.  This can be done via the Internet and takes about 20 minutes.  There is a quiz at the end of each section so that you may demonstrate that you understand the information being provided.  You can print a copy of the verification page for your records as proof that you completed the session.  Rensselaer will be informed electronically when you have successfully completed this requirement.

  1. Go to www.studentloans.gov and log in using your FSA User ID and password.
  2. Click on “Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance, Financial Awareness, Exit”
  3. Click START button next to Entrance Counseling type to begin process.
If the Graduate PLUS application is denied, the borrower has three options:
  1.  Request a review of the credit check due to inaccurate information on your credit report. Contact Direct Loan Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394.
  2. Provide an endorser. The endorser must pass a credit check and sign a promissory note. Contact Direct Loan Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394.
  3. Not pursue the Graduate PLUS loan. No further action.
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Alternative Student Loan Programs

These non-federal loans are secured through private lending institutions.  The student is the primary borrower for most programs and a credit-worthy co-borrower may also be required to secure approval.  Most lenders will not lend to a student who is under 18 years old at the time of application, regardless if a co-signer is used.  In addition, the lender will look to other factors such as income and current outstanding debt when determining eligibility.   Availability of in-school deferment, loan forgiveness options, interest rates, processing fees, and repayment terms vary by lender.  Most programs offer in-school deferment.   Most provide borrower choice of either fixed or variable interest rates.   Actual rates and fee levels will be determined based on the borrower(s) credit rating.   Repayment typically begins after all funds are disbursed for the award year.  Loans may be requested for an amount up to the difference between our cost of attendance and the amount of aid awarded to the student. On an annual basis, we compile a list of commonly used alternative lenders for our students. While we do not encourage any specific lender, you can find basic pricing information here: www.elmselect.com 

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Processing Your Loans

Rensselaer can process Federal Direct & Perkins Loans through Rensselaer's Student Information System (SIS)

You can also look for additional loan opportunities by using:

  • ELMSelect provides a truly neutral lender and product comparison tool you can trust. Powered by ELM Resources, a not-for-profit mutual benefit organization.