Even if you do not qualify for a grant or scholarship, nearly every student completing a FAFSA and meeting financial aid requirements is eligible for some form of Federal student loan. Federal student loans offer fixed interest rates that are usually lower than private loans and almost always lower than a credit card. Federal loans also have flexible repayment plans and deferment options if you are having trouble making payments. The Office of Financial Aid encourages you to make an informed decision about accepting a student loan. It’s important to understand that a loan is a legal obligation that you will be responsible for repaying with interest. Make smart borrowing choices by doing the following:
- Keep track of your borrowing history by using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
- Use the U.S. Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator to calculate your monthly loan payments.
- Use the Department of Education’s Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT). This online interactive resource provides students with information about their federal student loan debt.
- Read the Department of Education’s Be a Responsible Borrower for ways to graduate with less debt.
- Research starting salaries in your field. Talk to the Career Center or graduates in your field of study to get an idea of how much you are likely to earn after graduation.
- Use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to estimate salaries for different careers or research employment.
- Understand the terms of your loan; when you sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN), you are agreeing to repay the loan even if you don’t complete your education, are not able to get a job after you complete the program or are unsatisfied with the education you received. Plain Language Disclosure for Direct Loans
- Keep in touch with your loan servicer. Notify your loan servicer when you graduate, withdraw from school, drop below half-time enrollment, transfer to another school or change your name, address or Social Security Number.
Federal Direct Stafford Loans are low interest loans for students. There are two types:
Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. The Department of Education pays the interest on a subsidized loan
- while you are in school at least half-time
- for the first six months after you leave school
- during a period of deferment
Always accept the full amount of subsidized loan offered to you before accepting your unsubsidized loan.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; financial need is not required.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) is for the parent of a dependent student. The amount offered is typically the cost of attendance minus all other aid and resources. A parent may borrow less than the amount offered if desired.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS is for graduate and professional degree students.
- ECSI borrower information
- ECSI Perkins MPN and requirements
- The ECSI customer service number is (888) 549-3274
Applications for private education loans or alternative loans are made by the student through a lender. Prior to disbursing a private loan the lenders are required to obtain a Private Education Loan Applicant Self Certification Form form from the applicant. The Office of Financial Aid encourages students to compare the differences between Federal and Private Loans and discuss federal student aid options before applying for a private loan.