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US Federal Student Loans - How to Apply

US Federal Direct Loans – How to Apply:

Student Aid Report (SAR):

To apply for a Direct or Direct PLUS loan, you must first file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at: www.fafsa.ed.gov . This process generates your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR is required by the school to determine your eligibility to receive a Federal Loan and also the amount you are eligible to borrow.

If you are applying for the first time, you will need to create a username and password. This will enable you to access your information more quickly on subsequent visits to the FAFSA site. It will also enable you to complete a Renewal FAFSA in future years. You may have to return to the site to enter or update information on your (or your parents’, in the case of dependent undergraduates) tax returns etc.

After you file your FAFSA online, the US Dept of Education (DOE) will process your SAR. You can review/amend your SAR online once it has been processed. In order to certify your Federal Loans, the school must receive your full SAR. This is not available to you online. You can only download a summarized 3-page version. Please select the PDF format before printing or emailing it (as an attachment) to the school. Once it is received, the full SAR can be retrieved electronically by the school.

Note 1:  You must enter the school name and US Department of Education (DOE) School Code number on your FAFSA.

The DOE School Code number for the University of Limerick is 03084300 or G30843.

Direct Loans – How to Apply:

You must complete a Direct Loan Application / Master Promissory Note (MPN) online.

Visit: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action

Note:  You should keep copies of ALL Financial Aid documents for your own records. You will need them when your loans go into repayment after graduation.

Direct Loan Amounts (maximum per year):

The amount you can borrow depends on your status (dependent or independent) and your grade level in college (see below).

Dependent Undergraduate:

1st Year:   $3,500  (Subsidised)  and  $2,000  (Unsubsidised)
2nd Year:   $4,500  (Subsidised)  and  $2,000  (Unsubsidised)
3rd Year & beyond:  $5,500  (Subsidised)  and  $2,000  (Unsubsidised)

Independent Undergraduate:

1st Year:   $3,500  (Subsidised)  and  $6,000  (Unsubsidised)
2nd Year:   $4,500  (Subsidised)  and  $6,000  (Unsubsidised)
3rd Year & beyond:  $5,500  (Subsidised)  and  $7,000  (Unsubsidised)

Note:  Your status as a Dependent or Independent Undergraduate is determined by your SAR.

Graduate/Professional:

Unsubsidised Direct Loan: $20,500

PLUS Loans – How to Apply:

You, or your parent, (if you are an undergraduate) can apply for a PLUS Loan in addition to the Direct Loan. The PLUS Loan was formerly only available to the parents of undergraduate students, but since July 1, 2006, it is also available to Graduate/Professional students, on their own signature, i.e., without the involvement of a parent. The PLUS (or Grad PLUS) Loan allows you, or your parent (in the case of undergraduates), to borrow up to the Cost of Attendance (COA), less the Direct Loan amount.

Your COA is determined by the school and includes tuition and all school costs, all living expenses (rent, utilities etc) and transportation (airline & commuting). Check the MPN for the full list of allowable expenses.

Note:  If you feel that the COA for your course, as determined by the school, is lower than your estimated costs, you should provide a budget breakdown of your expected expenses for the academic year. The school FAA will review your costs to decide if they are allowable and reasonable.

Parent PLUS Loans:

If you are a Dependent Undergraduate student, your parent can apply for a PLUS Loan on your behalf. PLUS Loans are credit-based and approval is based on your parent’s credit history.

Note:  If your parent is denied a PLUS Loan, due to an adverse credit-rating, you can apply for the Unsubsidised Direct Loan amount appropriate to your grade level, as an Independent Undergraduate.

Your parent should complete a Direct PLUS MPN online at:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/plus

Your SAR must be on file at the school prior to school certification.

Note:  You only need to submit one SAR to the school each year.

Graduate PLUS Loan:

If you are a Graduate/Professional student, you can apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan in addition to the Direct Loan. As a Graduate/Professional student, you are considered independent of your parents.

You should complete the Direct PLUS MPN online at:

https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action

If your SAR is already on file at the school, your PLUS Loan can be certified.

Summary:

1.   File FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and get your SAR.

2.   Complete Direct / PLUS MPN(s) online.

3.   Submit all documents to the FAA in the International Education Division.

Once the school’s FAA has received your MPN(s) and your SAR, you will receive an ‘Award Letter’ outlining the loans amounts that you are eligible to borrow and also a Loan Amount Declaration form which you need to sign and return to the FAA. When all documents are received, your loan(s) can be school-certified.

Interest Rates:

Since July 2006, the interest rates on Federal loans are fixed rates.

From July 1st 2018 to July 1st 2019 rates are as follows:

Direct Loans Undergraduate:  5.05%
Direct Loans Graduate: 6.60%
PLUS Loans: 7.60%

Unsubsidised Direct and PLUS Loans accrue interest from the date of disbursement.
Subsidised Direct Loans accrue interest once you graduate or fall below at least half time enrolment.

Note:  The grace period begins at graduation, or when a student falls below half-time attendance. It should also be noted that a student who takes an approved Leave of Absence will initiate the grace period and may be required to commence repayment of their loans before they return to school.

© University of Limerick 2017