Loans are funds that are borrowed from government entities or private institutions that must be repaid with interest. To apply for federal loans, you must complete the FAFSA.
The Federal Direct Student Loan Program is the most widely used student loan program for both undergraduate and graduate students interested in borrowing to help meet educational expenses. The Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan does not accrue interest while you are enrolled in classes, but the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan accrues interest starting at the date of disbursement. Borrowing limits, interest rates, and terms of repayment are determined and regulated by the U.S. Department of Education. Find out what you can expect when it’s time to repay federal loans.
The Federal Parent PLUS Loan Program enables parents with good credit histories to borrow money to pay the education expenses of their children. The student must be a dependent undergraduate student making Satisfactory Academic Progress and attending school at least half-time.
Directions for Applying:
- Application for a Parent PLUS Loan or a Graduate PLUS loan can be made at www.studentaid.gov, using the borrower’s FSA ID.
- Because credit checks are only valid for 180 days, PLUS loan requests will be available according to the following schedule:
- Academic year (August – April) –Beginning April 1
- Spring Semester Only (January – April) –Beginning November 15
- Summer (May – August) – Beginning April 1
- Upon application, the results of a credit check will be available immediately. If the borrower is credit approved, instructions will be given for completing a Master Promissory Note (MPN) if applicable. If the borrower credit is denied the borrower will be presented with the option of appealing the credit decision, obtaining an endorser, or not pursuing the loan. In the case of a parent borrower denial, students whose parents choose not to pursue the loan will be awarded additional Unsubsidized Direct Loan funds with the opportunity to reduce or decline the additional funding.
Parents can use this step by step guide to apply for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan.
Please make sure that the mailing address you enter on studentloans.gov matches what you have entered on your eRefund profile in PittPAY. Use this guide for instructions on updating your mailing address.
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Program enables graduate students with good credit histories and a need for funding beyond the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program to borrow money to pay education expenses. Graduate students considering this option must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program and be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Students and their families can borrow additional loan funds to assist in financing any gap that may exist between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid received. These private education loans are provided by commercial lenders and are not supported by state or federal financial aid funds. A private education loan is typically issued in the student’s name and most often requires a credit worthy cosigner, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Additionally, students must normally be at least 18 years of age. Students should compare interest rates, fees, and repayment options such as deferment and forbearance. Maximum loan amounts, loan terms, borrower qualification, repayment schedules, and interest rates vary among lenders. Some private education loans may require interest payments while the student is enrolled in school.
Explore a list of private loan options at FastChoice.
Students are strongly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal and state aid including Federal Pell grants, Federal Direct Student Loans, and other federally funded campus need and/or merit based aid. Federal Direct Loans may have terms and conditions that may be more favorable than the terms and conditions of private education loans such as loan forgiveness options for certain professional commitments and loan discharges due to total and permanent disability and death. Parents of dependent students and graduate students may also apply for Federal Direct Parent PLUS or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans.
Students have the right to select the private education lender of his/her choice. Neither the University of Pittsburgh nor the Financial Aid Office endorses, recommends, or promotes any specific lenders or their products. A private education loan is an agreement between the borrower, co-signer (if any), and the lender. The University of Pittsburgh cannot be held liable if the borrower is dissatisfied with interest rates, other terms, and/or services provided by the lender.
Students should begin applying within 90 days of the start of the semester. Students who need to borrow for both the fall and spring semesters are encouraged to complete their loan application for the year instead of taking out a separate loan for each term. Below are the term dates for 2020-2021 necessary to complete the loan application.
- Fall 2020/ Spring 2021: August 19, 2020 – May 1, 2021
- Fall 2020 only: August 19, 2020 – December 12, 2020
- Spring 2021 only: January 11, 2021 – May 1, 2021
- Summer 2021 only: May 10, 2021 – August 14, 2021
Students who decide to borrow private education loans must complete a Self-Certification Form. Your lender will provide you with the Self-Certification form, including instructions for completion. The Self-Certification form should be returned to the lender from whom you are borrowing.
Students will be asked to provide the Cost of Attendance on the Self-Certification form. Students can view Tuition and Mandatory Fees on the Institutional Research website. Housing accommodations range from single rooms to quadruple suites, and room charges vary accordingly. Visit the Housing website for cost information. As with housing, there are many dining options for students. Information for various meal plans can be found at Dining Services. We recommend you budget around $3,296 for book allowance, transportation and miscellaneous expenses.
Finally, students will also be asked to provide a total for Estimated Financial Assistance. Students can view their information by logging on to My Pitt and going to Student Center. Click on View Financial Aid and then on the appropriate financial aid year. Details of the total financial aid awarded to the student can be seen.
Per the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) regulations, lenders are required to provide borrowers with a three business day right-to-cancel period after the final disclosure of a private student loan. In addition, lenders are required to add an additional three business days for a borrower to receive the final disclosure. In most cases the disbursement process, which in itself may be another three day process, will begin on the eighth day. Borrowers should keep this timeline in mind if they are planning to use loan proceeds for other educational purposes.