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Northwestern University

Federal Loans

Eligibility
Requirements
Federal loan programs

Eligibility

To be eligible for federal loan assistance, a student must satisfy all of the following criteria:

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Requirements

  1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed annually to establish a student's eligibility for federal loans. The application may be completed and submitted online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Students who want their FAFSA data transmitted electronically to Northwestern University should enter Department of Education code 001739 online.
  2. Verification: The federal government may require verification of certain items reported on your FAFSA before certification or disbursement of federal loan funds. Students selected for verification will be notified by Student Financial Services.
  3. Online entrance counseling: Entrance counseling is required by federal regulation for first-time borrowers at Northwestern University of Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) and GradPLUS Loans. Students who have received their loan awards may check their To Do List on CAESAR for further instructions.
  4. Master Promissory Note (MPN): First-time borrowers at Northwestern University must complete an MPN for each type of loan they accept.
  5. Exit counseling: Exit counseling is also required by federal regulation for students who have borrowed any federal loans during their enrollment at Northwestern University. Students will be contacted upon graduating, dropping below half-time enrollment or withdrawing. See the exit counseling webpage for additional instructions.
  6. Reporting of other aid: Students who receive other financial aid (such as assistantships or traineeships), must by law inform their financial aid advisors. If necessary, appropriate reductions will be made to any loan funds already approved or disbursed. Receipt of these additional funds may result in students having to return loan funds already disbursed.

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Federal loan programs

All federal student loans have fixed interest rates (effective July 1, 2006) and are cancellable in the case of death or permanent disability and under other specific circumstances. They carry no penalty for prepayment and offer a number of deferment options.

Federal Direct Subsidized (Stafford) Loan Program

As a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, Sec. 502, Federal Direct Subsidized (Stafford) Loans for graduate students are no longer available for loan periods that start after June 30, 2012.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loan Program

Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans are not based on financial need. Graduate students can receive up to $20,500 per academic year. A student's eligibility is determined by subtracting any aid to be received for the loan period (including other loan funds) from the student's Cost of Attendance (select 2017-2018 or 2018-2019*). The combined total of Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans borrowed at the undergraduate and graduate levels may not exceed $138,500.

A Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loan borrower is responsible for payment of the interest that accrues from the date of funds disbursement. Payment of accrued interest is optional while the borrower is in school. Any unpaid interest will be caplitalized (added to the principal balance) at the end of the six month grace period when repayment begins. An origination fee is deducted by the U.S. Dept. of Education from each loan disbursement. See the Federal Student Aid website for the current interest rate and origination fee.

Repayment of a Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loan (principle and interest) begins six months after a student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. Before the end of the six month grace period, the student will receive (from their assigned federal loan servicer) a repayment schedule with the amount of their loan debt and information about the various repayment plans. See the Federal Student Aid website for more information.

* not yet available

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Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program for Graduate/Professional Students

The Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan is not based on financial need and is available to students who have borrowed the maximum amount of Federal Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans. A student's eligibility is determined by subtracting any aid to be received for the loan period (including other loan funds) from the student's Cost of Attendance (select 2017-2018 or 2018-2019*). Federal Direct GradPLUS Loans are subject to credit approval by the U.S. Dept. of Education and have an origination fee deducted from each loan disbursement.

See the Federal Student Aid site for interest rate and origination fee. The student is responsible for payment of the interest that accrues from the date of funds disbursement. Payment of accrued interest is optional while the student is in school. Unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the loan principal) when repayment begins within 60 days after the final loan disbursement. GradPLUS loans will be placed into in-school deferment for borrowers who are certified by their school to be enrolled at least half-time. No payments are required during in-school deferment.

Repayment of the Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan (principle and interest) begins six months after a student is no longer enrolled at least half-time. Before the end of the six month post-enrollment deferment, the student will receive a repayment schedule (from their assigned federal loan servicer) with the amount of their loan debt and information about the various repayment plans. See the Federal Student Aid website for more information.

* not yet available

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Federal Carl Perkins Loan Program

IMPORTANT: The Federal Perkins Loan program has been phased out by the U.S. Dept. of Education. By federal regulation, universities may no longer offer Perkins Loans to graduate students. 

The Federal Perkins Loan has a fixed-interest rate of 5%. The Federal Government pays the interest while the student is registered at least half-time and during the nine month grace period which begins when a student graduates, withdraws or drops below half-time enrollment. The student will receive a repayment schedule with the amount of their loan debt when leaving the University. The Perkins Loan has a maximum repayment term of ten years with a minimum monthly payment of $40. For additional details about the Perkins Loan, see the Federal Student Aid website.

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