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Federal Direct Stafford Loans

The Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program offers low interest loans to students to help pay for their college education.  The Interest Rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans for Undergraduate students made on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is 3.86%.  The Interest Rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans for Graduate and Doctoral students made on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is 5.41%.  Principal payments are deferred while students are enrolled at least half-time.

Eligibility Requirements

First-time loan borrowers at Eastern must complete a Federal Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling questionnaire online at www.StudentLoans.gov.  You will need your FAFSA PIN # to access the website (the student’s PIN #).

Two Types of Stafford Loans
Subsidized:  The Federal Government will pay the interest on this loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time.  Effective July 1, 2013, there is a time limitation on Direct Subsidized Loan Eligibility for First-Time Borrowers- click here to read more.
Unsubsidized:   Interest accrues on the loan while the student is in school.  The student may choose to pay the interest monthly (which saves money in the long run!)

A student’s eligibility for Subsidized & Unsubsidized is determined by filing the FAFSA.

Annual Borrowing Limits (Federal Direct Stafford Loan Only):

1st Year (0-24 credits)

$3,500 Subsidized
+ $2,000 Unsubsidized
+ $4,000 Additional Unsubsidized*

2nd Year (25-54 credits)

$4,500 Subsidized
+ $2,000 Unsubsidized
+ $4,000  Additional Unsubsidized*

3rd through 5th Year (55+ credits)

$5,500 Subsidized
+ $2,000 Unsubsidized
+ $5,000 Additional Unsubsidized *

Teacher Certification Only

$5,500 Subsidized
+ $2,000 Unsubsidized
+ $5,000 Additional Unsubsidized *

Graduate Students

$20,500 Unsubsidized

*Dependent Students must receive a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan denial before becoming eligible for the Additional Unsubsidized.  Independent Students automatically become eligible for the Additional Unsubsidized.

Aggregate Loan Limits (the maximum amount a student can borrow in their lifetime)
Undergraduate:

  • Dependent Students = $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which can be Subsidized)
  • Independent Students = $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which can be Subsidized)

Graduate and Professional Students:

  • Maximum = $138,500 (no more than $65,500 of which can be Subsidized)

Special Note for Graduate Students:
Students who have enrolled in a CERTIFICATION program are not considered to be enrolled in a graduate level program – for financial aid purposes only.  Your loan eligibility will be determined as a 5th year Undergraduate.  You will be held to the Undergraduate Borrowing Limits and Aggregate Limits.

Entrance/Exit Counseling
Entrance and Exit Counseling are both required in order to participate in the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program.  They ensure that you fully understand your rights and obligations as a student loan borrower. Financial aid for a higher education is often the key to a successful future, but it is also a serious obligation with specific responsibilities. Both the Entrance and Exit Counseling sessions will help prepare you for your new responsibilities, while ensuring that you make the most of your higher education and enjoy a worry free repayment process.

Entrance Counseling is typically completed at the same time as the Master Promissory Note (MPN). You can complete the Entrance Counseling questionnaire online at www.StudentLoans.gov. Please note: Your Federal Direct Stafford Loan will not be approved and the funds will not be sent to Eastern until both the Entrance Counseling and MPN are completed.

Exit Counseling is typically completed at the completion of school.  If you have graduated, dropped below half-time, or withdrawn from Eastern, you must complete your Exit Counseling at www.StudentLoans.gov.

Deferments
Under certain conditions you can receive a deferment on your loan as long as your loan is not in default. This allows you to temporarily postpone payments. Students enrolled at least half-time can be considered for an in-school deferment. 

If your prior loan is a Direct Stafford Loan, you must contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center to request a deferment. (www.StudentLoans.gov or 1-800-848-0979)  

If your loan is NOT a Direct Stafford Loan, then you must contact the lender or guaranty agency that holds your loan. (e.g. AES/PHEAA www.aessuccess.org or 1-800-692-7392)

You must continue making scheduled payments until you are notified that the deferment has been granted, otherwise your loan could enter into default.All Deferment Forms should be submitted to Eastern’s Registrar’s Office for completion. The Registrar’s Office can be reached at (610) 341-5853 / registra@eastern.edu .

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