How am I going to pay the Actual Cost?
Student loans may be an option for eligible borrowers.
Do I Need Loans?
- Typically, financial aid does NOT cover your entire cost.
- Determining if you need to use loans is an important step in the financial aid process.
- Unlike grants and scholarships, loans must be repaid.
- Loans can supplement what you can afford to pay out of pocket and make obtaining a college degree achievable.
- There are different types of student loans. Eligibility, and terms vary by loan type.
What loans are already part of my financial aid?
There are a few types of loans that may be part of your financial aid. The student’s FAFSA determines eligibility for these. If eligible, they will be part of the student’s financial aid package.
Under this program, the federal government is the lender. Federal student loans usually offer borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment options than other loans.
Although it’s a federal loan, this is actually a school-based loan program for students with exceptional financial need. Under this program, the school is lender. If you are eligible for the Perkins loan, you will be notified on your Financial Aid Award Letter. Instructions on the application process will be emailed to your student account by the Financial Aid Office.
Alma College Long Term Loan (ACLTL)
A school-based loan program for students with exceptional financial need. Under this program, the school is lender. If you are eligible for the ACLTL, you will be notified on your Financial Aid Award Letter. Instructions on the application process will be emailed to your student account by the Financial Aid Office. Rate Disclosure
If you are eligible for any of the Federal Direct, Perkins, or Alma College Long Term Loans listed above, they will appear on your financial aid package.
My financial aid doesn’t cover everything…
There are two loan options for covering the remaining costs after all aid (grants, scholarships, federal student and/or institutional loans) has been determined. These have different requirements to determine eligibility such as a credit check by the lender.
Please Note: Many families combine paying out of pocket or using payment plans along with the loan options below. Borrowing a combination of the two loan types listed below is also possible.
Option 1: Federal Parent PLUS Loan
A credit-based, fixed-rate loan that parents of dependent, undergraduate students can borrow to pay for the student’s education costs not covered by other aid. Parents may borrow up to the school’s cost of attendance less all other financial aid the student is receiving. Note: This loan can never be transferred into the student’s name. The parent is solely responsible for repayment.
Option 2: Alternative Loans
Alternative/private loans are student loans through banks or credit unions and are available to help students meet education costs not covered by other aid. Students/parents may borrow up to the school’s cost of attendance less all other financial aid the student is receiving.
What’s the difference between Option 1 and Option 2?
Watch this video for the answer:
What about other Federal Loans versus Alternative/Private Loans?
See the answer here: Federal Loans Vs. Alternative Loans
Track Your Federal Loans & Find Your Loan Servicer
NSLDS – The National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS) is accessible at nslds.ed.gov and provides detail on what kind of loans you have borrowed, the amounts of those loans, and provides you with your loan servicer’s name and contact information.
See the video below and the guide 5 Quick Steps to Navigating the NSLDS for more information.
Resources For Loan Education, Requirements & Borrowing Tools
studentloans.gov - Use this website to complete Loan Entrance Counseling, Exit Counseling and sign MPNs. Also contains a variety of other resources/information.
studentaid.ed.gov – You can find a variety of resources, including a repayment estimator, short videos, and answers to many frequently asked questions about repayment.
Repaying Your Federal Student Loans - Check out this guide for more information about the process and your options for repaying federal student loans.