Beginning with the least expensive loan, here are the more common education loan programs.
Federal Perkins Loans
Students borrow funds offered by the federal government through their school. Not all schools offer Perkins Student Loans. The interest rate is fixed at 5%.
Federal Stafford Loans
Students borrow funds via the federal government's Direct Loan Program. The Stafford Student Loan may be subsidized where the government forgives the interest while the student is in school, in grace and in deferment, or unsubsidized where the borrower pays the interest over the entire life of the student loan. You may be awarded some of both types. The interest rate for Direct Subsidized student loans disbursed between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 has been set at 3.4% for undergraduate students. On July 1, 2012 this rate will increase to 6.8% and be fixed for the remaining life of the loan, unless there is further legislative change. The interest rate for all unsubsidized and graduate subsidized Stafford Student Loans is 6.8%.
Federal PLUS Loans
Graduate and professional degree students, as well as parents of undergraduates, can borrow PLUS Loan funds via the federal government's Direct Loan Program. The interest rate is fixed at 7.9% and interest begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full. The first payment is due within 60 days after the final disbursement. Parents may defer repayment based on the dependent student's in school status and receive a six month grace period after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time but only for PLUS loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2008. See our Managing Your Repayment section for information on deferments for Grad PLUS loans.
Private Student Loans
Students may borrow funds through a private student loan program established by a lending institution. Each private student loan program offers its distinctive set of loan terms and is generally, but not always, more expensive than federal student loans.
Before you borrow, read the loan terms and know who your lender is. The financial aid office has more detailed information about these different student loan options.
Apply for one of our private student loan products