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Graduate Student Loan Options

 

Graduate PLUS Loans

Private Loans

Institutional Loans     (Northwestern University  Loans)

Borrower

Student is the borrower

Student is the borrower

Student is the borrower

Lender

Federal Government

Varies-banks, credit unions etc

Northwestern University

Eligibility

Student must borrow full Stafford Loan eligibility before borrowing Grad PLUS Loan

Must be enrolled at least half-time and meet requirements to receive federal aid

Must complete the FAFSA and University Aid Application

Credit check required

Student should borrow full Stafford Loan eligibility before borrowing NU Loan

Varies by lender.  Some lenders will lend to students enrolled less-than-half-time

Must complete lender application and University Aid Application

Credit check required

Student must borrow full Stafford Loan eligibility before borrowing NU Loan

Available to full-time students only.

Must complete lender application and University Aid Application

Credit check required

Interest Rate

 

7.9% fixed

Interest begins to accrue at the time of disbursement

Varies by lender, credit score and co-signer status.   Some are fixed and some are variable (again based credit score and co-signer status)

Some loan programs have interest rate caps, some do not, check with lender

Interest begins to accrue at the time of disbursement

Interest rates are variable and may change each year on September 1

The 2013-14 rates are:

Need-Based:   4.5%

Optional:   5.0%

GPAL (International):  5.0%

Kellogg International A:  5.0%

Kellogg International B:  5.5%

Interest rate cap is the interest cap as determined by the state.

Interest begins to accrue at the time of disbursement

Annual Maximum

Cost of attendance less financial aid

Generally cost of attendance less financial aid

Generally cost of attendance less financial aid

Aggregate Maximum

(lifetime)

None

Varies by lender

Aggregate maximum varies by program.  Please contact the Student Loan Office for information about your specific program’s aggregate limit.

Fees

(origination fees are automatically deducted from your loan at the time of disbursement)

4.204% origination fee

Varies from 0-10% for origination and/or repayment fees, according to the lender, student’s credit score and whether the loan is co-signed.

0% fees for Need-Based and Optional NU Loans

0% fees for International A Loan

4% fees for International B Loan

5% for GPAL (International ) Loan

Credit Check

Basic credit check performed; however, no credit score or debt-to-income ratio is used.  Federal regulations state that the borrower must not have adverse credit (no accounts in default, collections status, charge off, write off or 90 days or more past due status)

If credit requirement is not met, a credit-worthy endorser is an option for eligibility

Most lenders perform a credit check using your credit score.  Debt to income ratio may also be considered.

A credit worthy co-signer may be required for best terms or eligibility.

You may be approved without a cosigner based on your credit score and program of study.

If, for whatever reason, you are not approved based on your credit alone, you will be able to apply with a co-maker.

Please note that students enrolled in the Graduate Journalism and Music programs and programs in The Graduate School will be required to use a comaker.

Grace Period

None, but 6 month forbearance available to align with beginning of Stafford Loan repayment

Varies by lender between 0-9 months.

6 months after graduation for most NU Loan types

Deferment and Forbearance

In-school deferment and availability of a 6 month forbearance to align with beginning of Federal Direct loan repayment start.

Up to 3 years of forbearance available

Varies by lender.  Many lenders offer limited forbearance options (some may require interest only payments while in forbearance)

Forbearance is allowed for a maximum of 36 months, in intervals of 6 months.

 
Exceptions: MD students can receive forbearance on loans as long as required to complete a residency or fellowship.

Loan Forgiveness Options

May be eligible for Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness

None

None

Repayment terms/periods

Choice between standard, graduated, extended, income-contingent and income-based repayment terms

Varies by lender but generally no (or interest only) payment is due while student is enrolled.  Repayment term can range from 10-25 years based on lender and amount borrowed

The standard repayment period is 10 years.
Exceptions:

  • Physical Therapy students: 15 years
  • MD student loans:            20 years

Death/disability

Discharged, if borrower dies or becomes totally, permanently disabled; endorser not liable for debt if student dies or becomes totally, permanently disabled.

Varies by lender.  Some lenders do offer discharge if borrower dies or become totally, permanently disabled.  Liability of  co-signer may also vary be lender

Coverage for death and disability is available for the student only.  In the event of the death or permanent disability of the student, the co-maker will not be held liable for the debt.

Consolidation

Eligible for Federal Direct Consolidation Loan

None

None