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Financial Aid Overview

<<< DIRECT AND FEDERAL STAFFORD LOANS

Direct Stafford Loans to Students

How do you apply for a Direct Stafford Loan?

First, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Renewal FAFSA. After your FAFSA is processed, your school will review the results and will inform you of your loan eligibility.

You must then complete the promissory note provided by your school or the Direct Loan Servicing Center. Remember, the promissory note is a legal document requiring you to repay the loan. Read it carefully before you sign.

How do you pay back your Direct Stafford Loan?

The Direct Loan Program offers four repayment plans that are available to borrowers of Direct Stafford Loans. The repayment plans will be explained in more detail during entrance and exit counseling sessions at your school. The repayment chart shows estimated monthly payments for various loan amounts under each of the plans. In some cases it may be beneficial for you to consolidate one or more of your Direct Stafford Loans into a Consolidation Loan.

You may choose one of the following repayment plans:

  • The Standard Repayment Plan requires you to pay a fixed amount each month – at least $50 – for up to 10 years. The length of your actual repayment period will depend on your loan amount.

  • The Extended Repayment Plan allows you to extend loan repayment over a period up to 25 years, if you have more than $30,000 in outstanding Direct Loan debt. Your monthly payment will be lower than it would be if you repaid the same total loan amount under the Standard Repayment Plan, but you will repay a higher total amount of interest over the life of your loan because the repayment period will be longer. The minimum monthly payment is $50.

  • Under the Graduated Repayment Plan, your payments will be lower at first and then increase generally every two years. The length of your repayment is up to 10 years, depending on your loan amount.

  • The Income Contingent Repayment Plan bases your monthly payment on your yearly income, family size, and loan amount. As your income rises or falls, so do your payments. After 25 years, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.

  • The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 introduced Income-Based Repayment as a more generous alternative to income-sensitive and income-contingent repayment, starting on July 1, 2009. Income-based repayment is like income contingent repayment, but caps the monthly payments at a lower percentage of a narrower definition of discretionary income.

Go to www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml to access a loan payment calculator. This will assist you in computing an estimate of the size of your monthly loan payments and the annual salary required to manage them without too much financial difficulty.

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