The following chart provides a comprehensive picture of the aid programs available, with information on eligibility and application requirements. Note that some of these are administered by lending institutions, or state and federal government agencies.
You must be a matriculated student, and meet all financial aid requirements, including the minimum enrollment of six credits, in order to borrow federal loans, and to borrow most alternative loans. Federal loans require that you meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
Many other grant, scholarship, and loan programs exist all over the country, and your eligibility often depends on where you live. Remember, any financial aid you receive will reduce your annual costs and/or your loan repayment obligations. It may be worth doing the extra paperwork to apply!
| Financial Aid Programs
|Program||Eligibility Requirements||Funding Source||Annual Award Ranges||Application Instructions|
|Federal Pell Grant||Undergraduate students with exceptional financial need as determined by the FAFSA
Based on enrollment
|Federal Government||$605-$5645* (varies)
*academic year 2013-14
Meet all financial aid requirements
|Undergraduate students with exceptional financial need as determined by the FAFSA
Must be PELL eligible
|Federal Government||$400-$4,000 (varies)||
Awards determined by the University
|Direct Subsidized Loan||Based on financial need
Enrollment in six or more credits
|Federal Government||Per academic year:
First Year: $3,500
Second Year: $4,500
Third & Fourth Year: $5,500
Matriculation in a
Enrollment in six or more credits
|Federal Government||Per academic year: All students - $2,000||Submit FAFSA
Meet all financial aid requirements
Student will need his/her FAFSA PIN#
|Direct Parent PLUS Loan||Must have official FAFSA
|Federal Government||Can borrow up to the Cost of Attendance (minus financial aid) per academic year
If a parent is not approved for this loan, the student may be eligible to receive additional unsubsidized for $4,000-$5,000 (depending on grade level).
Parent will need his/her FAFSA PIN#
|Federal Nursing Student Loan||
Students enrolled in the School of Nursing with financial need as determined by the FAFSA
Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information
Limited funding; awards vary
|Awards determined by the University|
What are Direct Loans?
These loans are made through the Federal Direct Loan Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education. These loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Students can receive a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan for the same enrollment period. Loan repayment begins six months after graduation or six months after enrollment is less than half-time (five or fewer credits).
A subsidized loan is is awarded on the basis of financial need. Financial need is calculated by subtracting the expected family contribution (EFC) from the cost of attendance (COA). The EFC is determined by the Department of Education and is calculated from the student (and/or family's, for dependent students) as reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The COA for all degree programs is determined by the university. Interest on this loan is not charged while students are in school and enrolled for six or more credits.
An unsubsidized loan is a non-need based loan program. Students will be charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid off. The interest can accrue during enrollment and during other periods of non-payment, but the interest will be capitalized. If the interest is not paid during enrollment, it is accrued and will be added to the principal balance of the loan. Capitalization occurs the day the grace (or deferment) period expires. This additional amount subsequently accrues interest, which adds an additional expense to the loan during repayment.
How much money can I borrow?
The loan amounts a student can borrow depend on grade level in college and on student status (dependent undergraduate, independent undergraduate, and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to secure a Direct PLUS Loan), or graduate student.
Undergraduate Student Annual Loan Limits for Direct Loans (first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008):
|Year in College||Dependent Undergraduate Student||Independent Undergraduate Student|
|1st Year||$5,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$9,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans|
|2nd Year||$6,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$10,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans|
|3rd and 4th Years (each)||$7,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$12,500 - Non more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.|
|Maximum Total Debt from Direct/Stafford Loans
||$31,000- No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans||$57,500 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans|
Fairfield University participates with the Direct Loan Program and does not have a preferred lender list. Fairfield University abides by all principles outlined in the CT Code of Conduct.
How do I apply for a Direct Loan?
Students must first submit the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student in writing (e-mail or mail) of eligibility for a Direct Loan. If accepted, students must complete both the Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) in order for the loan proceeds to disburse at the University. These loan requirements can only be completed online through the Department of Education's web site, using the student's Personal Identification Number (PIN).
What are the Direct Loan interest rates?
Here are the interest rates for loans first disbursed between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014:
|Current Loan Interest Rates by Disbursement Dates|
|First Disbursed between July 1, 2013 and June 20, 2014*
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Fixed at 3.86%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Fixed at 3.86%|
|Direct PLUS Loans||Fixed at 6.41%|
|Nursing Student Loans||Fixed at 5.0%|
*To view interest rates on Direct Loans with disbursements before July 1, 2013, click HERE.
Is there a charge for this loan?
Yes. There is a 1.051% origination fee on all Direct Loans. The fee will be proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement, prior to the Department of Education sending the funds to the school. NOTE: For loans processed on/after December 1, 2013, the origination fee will be 1.072%.
Important Items to Note
- New Direct Loan borrowers on or after July 1, 2013 will not be eligible for new Direct Subsidized Loans if the period in which the borrower has received such loans exceeds 150 percent of the published length of the borrower's educational program. Read more here.
- A borrower reaching the 150 percent limit becomes ineligible for interest subsidy on all Direct Subsidized Loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013.
- As part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which passed on August 1, 2011, for undergraduate Direct/Stafford subsidized loan borrowers whose loans are first disbursed after July 1, 2012, the interest subsidy ceases once a student ceases at least half-time enrollment. The government will no longer subsidize the interest for students during their grace period. This will be in effect for between July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013 and July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014).
- All students who borrow with the Direct Loan programs must also satisfy the Exit Counseling requirement to fully understand the terms of loan repayment. Exit Counseling will be required prior to graduation, at the time of withdrawal, or when enrollment drops below six credits.
What is a Direct PLUS Loan?
The Direct PLUS loan is a loan that a parent can utilize to help pay for a student's educational expenses. This loan is for parents of dependent, undergraduate students who have an official FAFSA on file for the academic year in which the parent wishes to borrow the loan, confirmed enrollment of at least half-time (six credits or more), and who are maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards as set by the University. These loans are processed through the U.S. Department of Education. Parents must be credit-worthy and have no adverse credit history.
How much money can a parent borrow?
An eligible parent can borrow up to the cost of attendance (COA) for the academic year, minus any other financial aid the student receives.
What if a parent is NOT approved for the Direct PLUS Loan?
If a parent is not approved for this loan, the student will be eligible to receive more loan funds in a Direct Unsubsidized Loan (amount varies by student status). Students will be notified of any additional loan funds via University e-mail.
How do parents apply for the PLUS Loan?
Parents can submit a credit check and their Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. This Department of Education web site requires the parent use his/her FAFSA Personal Identification Number (PIN). It is very important that after completing the credit check application that the MPN is completed immediately. If both applications are not complete when the loan is approved, the University will not be able to process the loan.
What is the interest rate on this loan?
The interest rate for Direct PLUS Loans is 6.41%. Parents will be notified of interest rate changes throughout the life of their loan. Interest is charged on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid off.
Is there a charge for this loan?
Yes. There is a 4.204% loan origination fee on all Direct PLUS Loans. The fee will be proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement, prior to sending the funds to the university. NOTE: For all PLUS Loans processed on/after December 1, 2013, the origination fee will be 4.288%.
How do parents pay back this loan?
When a parent receives the Direct PLUS Loan, he/she will be contacted by the loan's servicer. The loan servicer will provide regular updates on the status of the Direct PLUS Loan and will provide information on how and when to repay the loan. To read more about loan servicers, click HERE.
Payments are generally required on this loan while the student is in school and will begin after the loan is fully disbursed for the year; however, payments can be deferred until six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or is enrolled for less than six credits, only after the payment deferment has been approved by the loan servicer. If payments are deferred during the in-school period and/or the six month post-enrollment period, parents will receive quarterly interest statements and have the option to pay the accrued interest. Unpaid, accrued interest will be capitalized (added to the principal loan balance) at either the end of the in-school deferment or, if taken, the end of the six-month post-enrollment deferment, increasing the overall loan costs.
It is strongly recommended that students borrow the maximum in Direct Loans and/or Direct PLUS Loans before considering an alternative student loan. Direct loans may be less expensive, with fixed interest rates and with various options for repayment. The Office of Financial Aid will certify any alternative loan at the request of any borrower, provided they are approved and provided the loan amount does not exceed their eligibility for the year. However, it is the responsibility of the borrower to determine which alternative loan best fits their borrowing needs.
What are alternative student loans?
Alternative student loans are available to assist students to cover any financial gap that may exist between their educational costs (cost of attendance) and the amount of financial aid they are receiving. There are many types of alternative student loans and each are calculated with different interest rates and repayment terms, which vary, depending on the borrower and cosigner's credit-worthiness. Students and families should review their finances to determine which financing option best fits their borrowing needs. Many undergraduate students require a credit-worthy cosigner in order to obtain the best rate and loan benefits.
How do I select an alternative student loan that is "right" for me?
Fairfield University does not have a preferred lender list for alternative student loans, nor can we recommend specific lenders. However, ELM Select, a service provided by ELM Resources (see link below), can assist students with one of the most important tasks in the financial aid process, finding the right alternative loan. ELM Select is an online lender comparison resource that provides free and extensive loan options. This service has several features that can help students make the financing decision that best fits their financial needs. It also provides a wealth of information regarding borrower rights, responsibilities and loan repayment.
Note: This loan process can take at least three to four weeks to complete. Please apply as early as possible early to allow for this processing time.
Fairfield University does not have a preferred lender list for alternative student loans. Fairfield University abides by all principles outlined in the CT Code of Conduct.
If you need assistance with any aspect of the financial planning process, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.