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Office of Financial Aid

Office of Financial Aid home page
Week of December 11, 2006

Graduate PLUS Loan Repayment Answers

Question from Student:

I received a letter from my lender saying that the first payment on my Graduate PLUS loan is due in March. Is this true?

Answer:

Many students are receiving notification from their lenders indicating that the first payment on their Graduate PLUS Loan is due within the next few months. One of the terms of the Graduate PLUS loan is that repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement of the loan. The last disbursement for most studentsí Graduate PLUS loan for the 2006-2007 academic year is in mid January. For this reason, some lenders are automatically sending out notification that repayment begins within the next few months.

The lenders on the Office of Financial Aidís preferred lender list are placing our students into in-school deferment status in the spring term once they receive verification of enrollment of at least half time for the spring term. Enrollment verification is automatically sent out by the university several times a semester. At IIT Half-time status is enrollment is 6 credits or more. As long as enrollment in at least 6 credits is maintained repayment will not begin until after graduation.

In order to be sure that your loan is placed into in-school deferment status it is advised that you contact your lender to verify before the end of January. Please keep in mind that these terms are specifically for the lenders on our preferred lenders list. If you did not choose one of the lenders on our preferred lender list, please contact you lender as soon as possible to find out if they offer an in-school deferment option.

Question from Student:

If I do not attend class during the summer term will I have to make payments during the summer?

Answer:

The lenders on the Office of Financial Aidís preferred lender list are automatically granting our students in-school deferment status over the summer term. In order to be sure that your loan is placed into in-school deferment status during the summer it is advised that you contact your lender to verify before the end of the spring term.

Please keep in mind that these terms are specifically for the lenders on our preferred lenders list. If you did not choose one of the lenders on our preferred lender list, please contact you lender as soon as possible to find out if they offer an in-school deferment option for the summer term.

Spring 2007 Disbursement Schedule

Law Students

Disbursement: January 12, 2007

Business Students

Disbursement: February 26, 2007

MPA Students

Disbursement: January 16, 2007

Spring Loan Disbursement Process: Step-by-Step

All loan funds, federal, Graduate PLUS and private, are sent directly to the school according to the disbursement schedule listed below.

1. When we receive the funds, we must verify that you are eligible to receive the funds. This process takes 1-3 business days. When the funds are released

2. The funds are then credited to your tuition account. You will receive an email from the Bursar's Office informing you that billing activity has occurred.

3. If a credit balance exists after the funds have been credited, the Bursar's Office generates a refund check for you. This process takes 5-7 business days.

4. The Bursar's Office will then notify you when the check is ready to be picked up.

If you have any questions regarding the financial aid funds that have been credited to your account, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

If you have any questions regarding the status of your refund check or charges on your account, please contact the Bursar's Office at 312-906-516

FAFSA Renewal Reminder

A Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is designed for students who applied for aid the previous year. Using the Renewal FAFSA application streamlines the application process because you do not have to enter basic information since it is uploaded from the previous year's database.

To ensure that you will be able to take advantage of the Renewal FAFSA for next year, please update your addresses and or email addresses on your current years FAFSA application so that the Department of Education's Renewal Reminders are sent to the correct address.

Refund Checks

Refund checks are generated by the Bursar's Office and are available to be picked up at their office (Room 290) approximately 5-7 business days after a credit has resulted in a student's account.

The Bursar's Office will send the student an email when a refund check is available.

Graduate PLUS Loan Information

As you may be aware, earlier this year Congress approved a new federal loan for graduate students, the Graduate PLUS Loan. Unlike undergraduate PLUS loans, where the borrower is the studentís parent, Graduate PLUS loans allow only the student to be the borrower. Students must meet federal credit criteria to qualify.

The Graduate PLUS Loan will be beneficial for students who need additional aid beyond the Federal Stafford and/or Perkins Loan. Previously, the only option available to these students was a private loan.

Students in need of additional aid will have to decide whether to apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan or a private loan for the 2006 -2007 academic year. Generally, our office recommends the Graduate PLUS Loan. The primary reason why this loan is more beneficial to students is the interest rate, which is fixed at 8.5%. While this may seem like a high rate when compared with the historically-low Stafford Loan interest rates of recent years, it is important to remember that interest rates are rising. The majority of Chicago-Kent students will not qualify for a private loan with a rate lower than 8.5%. Even for the few that do, the Graduate PLUS Loan may still be a better option, since private loans have variable rates, which are expected to continue increasing.

Ultimately, the decision to apply for a private loan or a Graduate PLUS Loan is yours, and it is one that you should consider carefully. At the following link you can view a chart that compares the terms of the Graduate PLUS Loan and private loans.

If you decide to apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan, the application process is very similar to that of the private loan. Please visit the following link (http://www.kentlaw.edu/depts/finaid/federalgraduatesloan.html) to view a list of our preferred lenders and the chart that compares the private loan to the Graduate PLUS loan.

Click on the lender of your choice to complete a Graduate PLUS Loan application. You will need to indicate the amount that you would like to borrow. Please remember that you must apply for the full academic year, since we will certify the loan so that the funds disburse equally between fall and spring. Also, please be aware that the amount of your PLUS Loan, combined with the rest of your financial aid package, cannot exceed the cost of attendance that is determined by our office. To help you determine the amount of Graduate PLUS loan funds you will need, please download the Estimated Cost Worksheet.

If you decide to apply for the private loan instead of the Graduate PLUS Loan, You must do the following:

Notify the Office of Financial Aid via email at finaid@kentlaw.edu or finaid@stuart.iit.edu. Apply with your lender. Once your private loan is approved and completed with your lender, the Office of Financial Aid will be notified electronically to complete the school certification request.
If you choose to use a private loan instead of the Graduate Plus Loan and do not notify our office of your decision, we will not certify the private loan.

After your application is complete, your lender will contact our office for certification of your eligibility.

New Stafford Loan Rates

The new Federal Stafford Loan rate for funds disbursed after July 1 2006 is as follows:

6.80% during in-school, grace, deferment, forbearance, or repayment

2006-2007 FAFSA

In order to qualify for federal financial aid for 2006-2007, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Renewal FAFSA for 2006-2007. In order to complete the 2006-2007 FAFSA you will need to provide 2005 income and tax information, so we recommend that you complete your 2005 tax returns before filing your FAFSA. However, we also recommend that you complete your FAFSA as soon as possible to receive full consideration for financial aid.

You can complete your FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov

Applying for Private Loans

If you decide to apply for the private loan instead of the Graduate PLUS Loan, You must do the following:

  1. Notify the Office of Financial Aid via email at finaid@kentlaw.edu or finaid@stuart.iit.edu.
  2. Apply with your lender. Once your private loan is approved and completed with your lender, the Office of Financial Aid will be notified electronically to complete the school certification request.

If you choose to use a private loan instead of the Graduate Plus Loan and do not notify our office of your decision, we will not certify the private loan.

Whether you are applying for a private loan for the first time this academic year or you are looking to borrow additional funds, please keep the following in mind:

Free Credit Report
Did you know that you are now able to receive a free credit report once every 12 months? We encourage students to review their credit reports annually to check for inaccuracies and identify any suspicious activity.

To receive your free credit report, please visit the following link: www.annualcreditreport.com. This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Please be aware that other sites may advertise free credit reports, but this is the only site that is sponsored by the federal government and the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Other sites may charge fees.

Office Hours - Suite #230

Monday-Thursday ~ 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Friday ~ 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone: (312) 906-5180 - Fax: (312) 906-5274

 

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