Direct Loan Basics & Entrance Counseling Guide. For Graduate and Professional Student Direct PLUS Loan Borrowers

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1 Direct Loan Basics & Entrance Conseling Gide For Gradate and Professional Stdent Direct PLUS Loan Borrowers

2 DIRECT LOAN BASICS & ENTRANCE COUNSELING GUIDE For Gradate and Professional Stdent Direct PLUS Loan Borrowers CONTENTS TYPES OF DIRECT LOANS What kinds of loans are available to gradate and professional stdents throgh the Direct Loan Program? 1 THINKING ABOUT BORROWING? What are the eligibility reqirements? 2 How do I apply for aid? 2 Can I reqest a lower loan amont than the amont I ve been offered? 2 GETTING A LOAN The Master Promissory Note 3 Is there a fee for my Direct Loan? 3 How will I receive my loan money? 3 PAYING BACK YOUR LOAN When do I have to begin making payments on my loan? 4 How mch time will I have to repay my loan, and how mch will I have to pay each month? 4 Can I get help repaying my loan? 6 Can my loan ever be canceled or discharged? 6 Keep yor loan accont pdated! 7 Delinqency and defalt 8 Staying ot of defalt 9 Loan consolidation 11 Rights and responsibilities smmary checklist Tear ot/13 This gide provides a general overview of information that yo will need to sccessflly repay the Direct Loans that yo are receiving to help pay for yor college costs. For more detailed information abot a specific topic, see the Master Promissory Note for yor loan or yor copy of the Borrower s Rights and Responsibilities Statement. Mch of the information in this booklet is a part of entrance conseling, which gradate or professional stdent borrowers mst complete before receiving a Direct Sbsidized, Unsbsidized, or stdent PLUS Loan. Throghot this gide the words we, s, or and the Department refer to the U.S. Department of Edcation. Also, all references to loan in the singlar apply to more than one loan as well. October 2008

3 Types of Direct Loans What kinds of loans are available to gradate and professional stdents throgh the Direct Loan Program? The Direct Loan Program offers several low-interest loans to gradate and professional stdents who are attending schools participating in the program. The lender is the U.S. Department of Edcation (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial instittion. Direct Sbsidized Loans Direct Sbsidized Loans for gradate and professional stdent borrowers are made for p to $8,500 per school year and have a fixed interest rate. The actal amont that yo will receive may be less, depending on yor financial need and other factors. (Financial need is yor cost of attendance mins yor estimated financial assistance and yor Expected Family Contribtion or EFC.) Direct Unsbsidized Loans Direct PLUS Loans Direct PLUS Loans can be made to gradate or professional stdents who need to borrow more than the maximm sbsidized and nsbsidized loan amonts to meet edcation costs that are not covered by other financial aid. The interest rate for PLUS loans is also a fixed rate. (Parents of dependent ndergradate stdents are also eligible for PLUS loans on behalf of their children.) Direct Unsbsidized Loans can be sed to meet yor remaining edcation costs and to replace yor EFC. The interest rate on nsbsidized loans is also a fixed rate. Gradate or professional stdents may borrow p to $20,500 per school year, less any Direct Sbsidized Loan amont yo receive. (Stdy in certain health professions programs may qalify yo for higher limits.) Direct Loan Interest Rates Direct Loan Type Interest Rate (fixed) When Interest Accres Direct Sbsidized Loan (gradate & professional stdents) Direct Unsbsidized Loan 6.8% Direct PLUS Loan (gradate & professional stdents) 6.8% No interest accres while yo are in school at least half-time,* dring grace and deferment periods. 7.9% *Check with yor school for their definition of half-time enrollment. Interest begins to accre with the first disbrsement of yor loan. Yo are responsible for paying interest dring all periods. Direct Loans on the Web: 1

4 THINKING ABOUT BORROWING? What are the eligibility reqirements? Yo mst meet the general eligibility reqirements for Federal Stdent Aid programs, inclding citizenship or stats as an eligible permanent resident. Yo can find ot more abot these reqirements in or pblication, Fnding Edcation Beyond High School: The Gide to Federal Stdent Aid, or by visiting Stdent Aid on the Web ( To receive a Direct Loan (Sbsidized, Unsbsidized, or stdent PLUS) yo mst be enrolled at least half-time at a school that participates in the Direct Loan Program. Gradate or professional stdent PLUS Loan borrowers, mst be enrolled in a gradate or professional degree program and mst not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be condcted). Note: If the credit check shows that yo have an adverse credit history, yo still may be able to have yor loan approved if yo can get the loan endorsed by someone who does not have an adverse credit history. By endorsing yor loan, the endorser is agreeing to repay the loan if yo do not repay it. How do I apply for aid? Yo apply for Direct Loans and other Federal Stdent Aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Stdent Aid (FAFSA). The information from yor application will be shared with the schools that yo have identified on the FAFSA. After yor FAFSA has been processed, the school will notify yo, sally throgh an award letter, of the types of aid for which yo are eligible. Note that some schools have additional application procedres check with yor school s financial aid office to be sre. Can I reqest a lower loan amont than the amont I ve been offered? Yes, yo can reqest less than the amont that the school has offered to yo, or decline the loan. The school s aid offer is based on typical expenses for its stdent poplation. If yo bdget careflly, yo may be able to redce yor costs dring yor period of attendance and ths redce yor need for loan assistance. 2 Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers

5 getting a loan The Master Promissory Note To apply for any Direct Loan, yo mst complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN is a legally binding agreement to repay yor loan to the Department. In most cases, one MPN can be sed Check with yor school to for loans that yo receive over several years of stdy. see if yo can complete an If yo received Direct Sbsidized or Unsbsidized MPN electronically. Loans as an ndergradate stdent, yo may still have a valid MPN on file that yo may se to take ot frther sbsidized or nsbsidized loans as a gradate or professional stdent, if yo are attending a school that participates in the Direct Loan Program. If yo are getting a Direct PLUS Loan for the first time as a gradate or professional stdent, yo ll need to complete and sign a PLUS MPN that is separate from the one that yo se for yor Direct Sbsidized and Unsbsidized Loans. When yo complete a PLUS MPN, yo are athorizing the Department to perform a credit check. PHOTO: Jpiter Images Corporation, Is there a fee for my Direct Loan? Yes, it is called the origination fee. Yo pay a fee that is a percentage of each Direct Loan that yo receive. The amont will be shown on the disclosre statement that yo will receive. Disclosre statements tell yo the type of loan (Sbsidized, Unsbsidized and PLUS), the amont of the loan, the amont of each disbrsement, the fees, and other information abot the loan. We dedct the fee before yo receive any loan money, so the loan amont yo actally receive will be less than the amont yo have to repay. The origination fee for a Direct PLUS Loan is 4%; however, we offer a 1.5% interest rate rebate that helps redce this fee. Once yo begin repayment, yo mst make 12 on-time monthly payments to retain this benefit. How will I receive my loan money? The school will generally disbrse loan money by crediting yor school accont. It also may give some of it to yo directly. Yor loan money sally will be disbrsed in at least 2 installments. Yo may se the loan money yo receive only to pay for yor edcation expenses at the school that is giving yo the loan. Edcation expenses inclde sch school charges as tition, room and board, and fees, and sch indirect expenses as books, spplies, eqipment, dependent child care expenses, transportation and rental or prchase of a personal compter. The entire npaid amont of yor loan may become de and payable (on yor MPN this is called acceleration ) if it trns ot that yo are not eligible for the loan. For instance, yo ll have to pay back the loan immediately if: Yo don t enroll at least half-time at the school that gave yo the loan. Yo gave false information that made yo eligible for the loan. Direct Loans on the Web: 3

6 PAying Back Yor Loan When do I have to begin making payments on my loan? Direct PLUS Loans Repayment begins 60 days after yo ve received the last installment of the loan for a school year. However, as long as yor school reports to s that yo are still enrolled at least half-time, we will grant a deferment that allows yo to postpone payments while yo re contining yor edcation.* There is no grace period for PLUS loans, so yo will be expected to begin repayment as soon as yor deferment ends. Direct Sbsidized and Unsbsidized Loans Repayment begins after a 6-month grace period. The grace period begins the day after yo cease at least half-time enrollment. Paying interest on yor loan while yo are in school If yo choose not to pay the interest on yor Direct Unsbsidized or PLUS Loan while yo re in school, we will add it to the npaid principal amont of yor loan when yo enter repayment. This is called capitalization. Capitalization increases the npaid principal balance of yor loan, and we will then charge interest on the increased principal amont. Check yor interest statements, and se the online calclators at to find ot how mch yo ll pay over the life of the loan if the in-school interest is added to yor loan balance. If yo want to pay the interest that accres on yor Direct Unsbsidized Loan or yor PLUS Loan while yo re in school, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at How mch time will I have to repay my loan, and how mch will I have to pay each month? Generally, yo ll have from 10 to 25 years to repay yor loan, depending on the repayment plan that yo choose. Yor monthly payment amont will be based on the amont yo borrowed and the repayment plan yo select. * Yor accont is placed in an in-school deferment stats. 4 Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers

7 Direct Loan stdent borrowers may choose one of several repayment plans: Standard Repayment Plan Yo make fixed monthly payments for p to 10 years. Gradated Repayment Plan Yor payments start off lower at first and then gradally increase, sally every 2 years. The loan mst be repaid within 10 years. Extended Fixed or Extended Gradated Repayment Plan Yo make fixed or gradated monthly payments over a period of time not to exceed 25 years. Extended repayment plans are available only to new Direct Loan borrowers on or after Oct. 7, 1998, who crrently have an otstanding Direct Loan balance of more than $30,000. Income Contingent Repayment Plan Yor monthly payment is adjsted each year based on yor annal income (and yor spose s income, if yo re married), yor family size, and the total amont of yor Direct Loans. After 25 years, any npaid loan amont will be forgiven. This plan is crrently available only to Direct Sbsidized or Unsbsidized Loan borrowers. Beginning Jly 1, 2009, this plan also will be available to stdent Direct PLUS Loan borrowers. Note that beginning Jly 1, 2009, a new Income-based Repayment Plan will become available to stdent Direct Loan borrowers (parent Direct PLUS Loan borrowers may not repay their Direct PLUS Loan nder this plan). Yor payment nder this plan will be based on yor income dring any period when yo have a partial financial hardship. Yor monthly payment amont may be adjsted annally. The maximm repayment period nder this plan may exceed 10 years. If yo meet certain reqirements over a specified period of time, yo may qalify for cancellation of any otstanding balance on yor loans. Yo can change plans at any time. There s no penalty if yo make payments before they are de or pay more than the amont de each month. Yo can se the charts on page 10 of this gide to estimate the monthly and total amonts yo wold repay nder these plans. Yo can find more information abot these plans by contacting the Department s Direct Loan Servicing Center Online at: Direct Loans on the Web: 5

8 PHOTO: Jpiter Images Corporation, Can I get help repaying my loan? Pblic Service Employment If yo are employed in certain pblic service jobs and have made 120 payments on yor Direct Loans (after Oct. 1, 2007), the remaining balance that yo owe may be forgiven. Only payments made nder certain repayment plans may be conted toward the reqired 120 payments. Yo mst not be in defalt on the loans that are forgiven. Armed Forces As part of their recritment programs, the Armed Forces may repay yor edcation loan if yo enlist in the military. For more information, contact yor local military service recritment office. Can my loan ever be canceled or discharged? Yo mst repay yor loan even if yo don t complete or can t find a job related to yor program of stdy, or if yo are nhappy with the edcation yo paid for with yor loan. However, we will cancel yor loan if yo have yor loan discharged in bankrptcy, if yo die, or if yo become totally and permanently disabled and meet certain additional reqirements. We may discharge some or all of yor loan if: The school closed before yo completed yor program. The school forged yor signatre on yor promissory note or falsely certified that yo were eligible to get the loan. A loan in yor name was falsely certified throgh identity theft. Yo withdrew from school bt the school didn t retrn the portion of yor aid award that it was reqired to retrn nder or reglations. (See the written notice on retrn of aid that yor school provides to its stdents.) 6 Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers

9 Keep yor loan accont pdated! One of the most common reasons a loan goes into defalt is becase we don t have crrent information on a borrower. Yo mst notify the Direct Loan Servicing Center and yor school s financial aid office abot certain changes. This is yor responsibility. Until yo gradate or leave school, yo mst notify yor school s financial aid office and the Direct Loan Servicing Center if yo: Change yor local address, permanent address or telephone nmber; Change yor name (for example, maiden name to married name); Do not enroll at least half-time for the loan period certified by the school; Do not enroll at the school that certified yor loan; Stop attending school or drop below half-time enrollment; Transfer from one school to another school; or Gradate. PHOTO: Jpiter Images Corporation, Keep in contact! Yo mst also notify the Direct Loan Servicing Center if any of these types of changes listed above happen after yo leave school. In addition, yo mst notify the Servicing Center if yo have any other change that wold affect yor loan, for example, if yor eligibility for a deferment has ended. Direct Loans on the Web: 7

10 Becase we report information abot yor loan to national credit breas, making timely payments on yor loan will help yo keep a good credit rating. If yo think yo might have a problem making the schedled payments on yor loan, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center immediately at The Servicing Center can help yo avoid the costs and penalties of delinqency and defalt. Delinqency and defalt If yo fail to make a payment, we ll send yo a reminder that yor payment is late. If yor accont remains delinqent, we ll send yo warning notices reminding yo of yor obligation to repay yor loan and the conseqences of defalt. Late fees may be added if yor payments are late, and yor delinqency will be reported to one or more national credit breas. Defalt occrs when yo become 270 days delinqent in making payments on yor loan. If yo defalt: PHOTO: Jpiter Images Corporation, The entire npaid amont of yor loan becomes de and payable. We will report yor defalt to national credit breas. We may se yo, or take all or part of yor federal tax refnd or other federal payments, or garnish yor wages so that yor employer is reqired to send s part of yor salary to pay off yor loan, or se a combination of these actions. Yo ll have to pay collection fees and costs, pls cort costs and attorney fees. Yo ll lose eligibility for other federal stdent aid and most other federal benefit programs. Yo ll no longer be eligible for loan deferments (sch as deferments while yo re in school, nemployed, or experiencing economic hardship). 8 Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers

11 Staying ot of defalt Make sre yo take advantage of deferments and forbearances when yo need them. A deferment is a temporary sspension of yor monthly loan payment. There are many different types of deferments available. For more information abot deferments, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center. Yo may qalify for a deferment if: Yo retrn to school at least half-time at a school that s eligible to participate in the Department s Federal Stdent Aid programs. Yo are nemployed or meet or rles for economic hardship. Yo are serving on active dty dring a war or other military operation or national emergency, or yo are performing qalifying National Gard dty dring a war or other military operation or national emergency, and if yo are serving on or after Oct. 1, 2007, for the 180-day period following the demobilization date for yor qalifying service. Yo are a member of the National Gard or other reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces (crrent or retired) and are called or ordered to active dty while enrolled at an eligible school, or within 6 months after having been enrolled. For this deferment, the deferment period is after the completion of the active dty service. If yo don t qalify for a deferment bt are temporarily nable to make loan payments for sch reasons as illness or financial hardship, we may grant yo a forbearance. A forbearance also allows yo to defer loan payments in certain sitations, sch as dring an illness. We charge interest on Direct Unsbsidized and PLUS Loans dring all periods of deferment and forbearance. Interest on Direct Sbsidized Loans is charged only dring periods of forbearance. Direct Loans on the Web: 9

12 Estimated Direct Loan Repayment Amonts by Type of Repayment Plan and Debt Amonts Direct PLUS Loans a Initial Debt When Yo Enter Repayment Standard Gradated Extended c b $5,000 $60 $7,248 $42 $7,694 Not Available 10, , ,388 Not Available 25, , ,472 Not Available 50, , , , ,000 1, , , ,561 a The estimated payments were calclated sing the maximm interest rate for Direct PLUS Loan borrowers, 7.9%. b This is yor beginning payment, which may increase. c Yo may choose the Extended Repayment Plan only if (1) yo had no otstanding balance on a Direct Loan Program loan as of Oct. 7, 1998, or on the date yo obtained a Direct Loan Program loan after Oct. 7, 1998, and (2) yo have an otstanding balance on Direct Loan Program loans that exceeds $30,000. Under the Extended Repayment Plan, yo may choose to make fixed or gradated monthly payments. This example shows fixed monthly payments. Initial Debt When Yo Entered Repayment Standard Direct Sbsidized and Unsbsidized Loans a Extended Fixed c Extended Gradated c Gradated Income Contingent b Income = $25,000 Single Married/HOH d $5,000 $58 $6,904 N/A N/A N/A N/A $40 $7,275 $37 $8,347 $36 $11,088 10, ,809 N/A N/A N/A N/A 79 14, , ,158 25, ,524 N/A N/A N/A N/A , , ,440 50, , , , , , , ,000 1, , , , , , ,153 a Payments are calclated sing a fixed interest rate of 6.8% for Direct Sbsidized and Unsbsidized Loans disbrsed on or after Jly 1, b Assmes a 5% annal income growth (Censs Brea). c This repayment plan is available only to borrowers who have an otstanding balance on Direct Loan Program loans that exceeds $30,000, and who had no otstanding balance on a Direct Loan Program loan as of Oct. 7, 1998 or on the date they obtained a Direct Loan Program loan on or after Oct. 7, d HOH is Head of Hosehold. Assmes a family size of two. 10 Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers

13 Loan consolidation Yo may want to combine mltiple federal edcation loans into a single Direct Consolidation Loan, which may allow yo to extend the repayment period. The interest rate for a Direct Consolidation Loan is based on a weighted average of the loans being consolidated. (Note that while extending the repayment period may lower yor monthly payments, yo may pay more interest over the life of the Direct Consolidation Loan.) Use the following chart to estimate the monthly and total amonts yo will repay if yo choose to consolidate yor federal edcation loans. Initial Debt When Yo Entered Repayment Standard Extended Fixed c Consolidation Borrowers a Extended Gradated c Gradated Single Income Contingent b Income = $25,000 Married/H0H d $5,000 $61 $7,359 N/A N/A N/A N/A $38 $7,978 $40 $9,414 $38 $12,294 10, ,461 N/A N/A N/A N/A 69 19, , ,587 25, ,123 N/A N/A N/A N/A , , ,588 50, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,153 a Payments are calclated sing the maximm interest rate for consolidation loans, 8.25%. b Assmes a 5% annal income growth (Censs Brea). c This repayment plan is available only to borrowers who have an otstanding balance on Direct Loan Program loans that exceeds $30,000, and who had no otstanding balance on a Direct Loan Program loan as of Oct. 7, 1998 or on the date they obtained a Direct Loan Program loan on or after Oct. 7, d HOH is Head of Hosehold. Assmes a family size of two. Direct Loans on the Web: 11

14 NoteS 12 Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers

15 Rights and Responsibilities Smmary Checklist Entrance Conseling for Stdent PLUS Borrowers I nderstand that I have a right to the following (check all boxes as yo read): q Written information on my loan obligations and information on my rights and responsibilities as a borrower q A disclosre statement, received before I begin to repay my loan, that incldes information abot interest rates, fees, the balance I owe, and the nmber of payments q Deferment of repayment or forbearance for certain defined periods, if I qalify and if I reqest deferment or forbearance q Prepayment of my loan in whole or in part anytime withot an early-repayment penalty q A copy of my MPN either before or at the time my loan is disbrsed q Docmentation that my loan is paid in fll I nderstand I am responsible for (check all boxes as yo read): q Completing exit conseling before I leave school or drop below half-time enrollment. q Repaying my loan even if I do not complete my academic program, I am dissatisfied with the edcation I received, or I am nable to find employment after I gradate. q Notifying my school and the Direct Loan Servicing Center if I: Move or change my address; Change my name; Withdraw from school or drop below half-time enrollment; Transfer to another school; Fail to enroll or reenroll in school for the period for which the loan was intended; Change my expected gradation date; or Gradate. q Making monthly payments on my loan, nless I have a deferment or a forbearance. q Notifying the Direct Loan Servicing Center of anything that might alter my eligibility for an existing deferment or forbearance. I have received entrance conseling materials for Direct Sbsidized, Unsbsidized, and stdent PLUS Loan borrowers. I have read and I nderstand my rights and responsibilities as a borrower. I nderstand that I have a loan from the federal government that mst be repaid. Stdent s Name (Please Print) Stdent s Social Secrity Nmber Stdent s Signatre Date Direct Loans on the Web: 13

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17 RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION General information abot stdent aid and applying for stdent aid: Federal Stdent Aid Information Center FED-AID (TTY ) Stdent Aid on the Web: Visit the Web site or call for general information abot stdent aid. From the Web site, yo can access a variety of stdent aid pblications in English and Spanish, inclding Fnding Edcation Beyond High School: The Gide to Federal Stdent Aid, a comprehensive overview of the financial aid process. For information abot everything related to Direct Loan Repayment: Borrower Services at the Direct Loan Servicing Center (TTY ) Direct Loan Servicing Online: For information abot Direct Loans: Direct Loans on the Web: Track yor otstanding federal stdent loans: National Stdent Loan Data System (NSLDS) Web site: Note: NSLDS only tracks federal stdent loans; yo will need to track any private edcation loans yo may have sing yor own records. For everything yo need to know abot Direct Consolidation Loans, inclding an online application: Direct Loan Consolidation Center (TTY ) Direct Loan Consolidation Web site: Direct Loans on the Web: 15

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