Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Navigation
The Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled in a degree-seeking program at least half-time (6 credits) and not in an active default on a prior federal student loan. The maximum loan per award year is $20,500 for graduate students with a lifetime aggregate limit of $138,500 ($65,500 of that amount can be subsidized loans). The Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not based on financial need.
The Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan begins to accrue interest upon disbursement and has a six-month grace period before repayment begins after graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment. All federal and institutional program rules must be met for receipt of funds.
The interest rate for the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan changes every July 1. For loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, the interest rate is 6.00%. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan meaning that it is possible to have three (for full-time JD) or four (for part-time JD) different rates on the loans from your legal education.
The loan fee for the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, as established and assessed by the Department of Education, changes every October 1. For loans disbursed before October 1, 2017, an origination fee of 1.069% is deducted from each disbursement. For loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2017, an origination fee of 1.066% is deducted from each disbursement. This fee deduction results in a net disbursement smaller than the gross amount offered in the financial aid package.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required of all federal loan applicants. The FAFSA is filed online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Select American University title IV code 001434. Please note this is the same title IV school code for main campus and the Washington College of Law. All financial aid application and program policies must be satisfied in order to receiving funding.
The FAFSA becomes available October 1 on an annual basis. The AUWCL financial aid deadline is March 1 with award notices for the following academic year emailed beginning in mid-March for prospective students.
After being awarded the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, the loan must be accepted in the MyAU portal. Recipients are required to complete the federal loan entrance counseling, an online tutorial that explains the rights and responsibilities of the borrower, and the loan agreement (MPN), which is the formal agreement signed by the borrower obligating them to repayment of the loan. Additionally, federal loan exit counseling must be completed upon graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment, including withdrawal or taking a leave of absence. All aforementioned loan requirements are completed at https://studentloans.gov.
Upon graduation, leaving school, or dropping below half-time, there is a six-month grace period before loan repayment begins. Loans previously in repayment with exhausted grace periods will begin repayment immediately. During the grace period, the loan servicer will notify the borrower of the first payment due date and amount. To identify the loan servicer for a specific loan, please visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at https://www.nslds.ed.gov/. An FSA ID and password are required.
There are several different types of loan repayment options available; some of which are based upon debt with many based upon income and other factors. The standard repayment plan divides the debt and interest over 10 years (120 payments) to determine the fixed monthly payment. The income-driven plans can make repayment much more manageable and typically carry an option for loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years depending on the plan. These plans require an annual application to determine the monthly payment during that period. The income-driven plans are also tied to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which currently provides tax-free loan forgiveness after making 120 on-time payments in a qualifying job while enrolled in a qualifying repayment plan.
The AUWCL Financial Aid Office offers numerous resources to assist with determining which loan repayment option may be the best fit. Please contact us directly for more information or visit the Federal Student Aid website on loan repayment.