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Loans

Student loans are administered by the Office of Student Financial Services and are included in a student's financial aid award if the student has completed the necessary requirements. Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest.

Loans that are included on the award letter are automatically accepted. You have the option of declining any portion of the loan. To decrease or decline the loan, send e-mail to loanhelp@smith.edu or note your decision on your financial award letter and return it to Student Financial Services.

The amount that a student can borrow may be limited based on the standard educational budget that Smith establishes. If you believe that your expenses may be greater than the level of loans that you have been awarded, please complete a Cost of Educational Expenses Worksheet (PDF).

Click on the links below for details on each of the two types of loans most commonly awarded to students enrolled at Smith.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans

Federal Direct Student Loans are used by many students to help finance their education.

Loan Origination Fee

The Department of Education deducts a loan origination fee on subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans. For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 and before December 1, 2014 the origination fee is 1.051%. For loans first disbursed on or after December 1, 2014 the origination fee is 1.072%.

Annual Borrowing Limits

The annual maximum loan amount for graduate students is $20,500. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to maintain their eligibility to borrow.

Aggregate (lifetime) Borrowing Limits

Graduate students have a lifetime limit of $138,500 in Stafford Loans. This includes both undergraduate and graduate borrowing.

Interest Rates

The interest rate for Direct Student Loans borrowed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 is 6.21 percent. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.

Disbursement Requirements: First-Time Borrowers at Smith College

On or after you receive your finalized award letter beginning May 1, go to www.Studentloans.gov and complete:

  1. Entrance Counseling (this provides information about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower) and
  2. Master Promissory Note (not required if previously completed under the Direct Loan Program)

Smith will be notified electronically after you have completed these requirements.

Disbursement

Loan proceeds are applied to the student's account in two disbursements, one each semester.

Refund Information

  • Credit balances are automatically refunded to graduate students. Refunds are processed on a weekly basis beginning one week before the start of classes in the fall and spring semesters.
  • We recommend setting up direct deposit with the Payroll Office for faster, easier access to refunds.
  • Refunds should be expended with caution, as they are meant to cover expenses over an extended period.
  • If financial aid or charges are revised due to course changes or withdrawal, all or part of a refund may be due back.

Refund warning: A loan will not pay out if any requirements are owed. And it can take up to three weeks from the time they are satisfied for them to be received and coded to accounts for the loan to disburse and, if the loan overpays an account, for the surplus to be refunded, as these are all weekly processes. Therefore, if you are relying on a refund from this loan, be sure to satisfy any owed requirements three weeks before funds are needed.

Repayment

Repayment of the loan begins six months after the student leaves Smith College, graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. The six-month timeframe is considered the grace period.

You can estimate your monthly loan repayments using the Federal Loan Calculator.

Exit Counseling

Students who have borrowed through the Federal Direct Loan programs are required to complete exit counseling if they are no longer enrolled at least half-time. Smith College will be notified electronically when this requirement has been completed.

Graduate Federal Direct PLUS Loan

A Graduate PLUS Loan is an option for students who require additional funding for graduate school after maximizing grants, scholarships and Direct Stafford Loans.

Eligibility

Eligibility for the Graduate PLUS Loan is based on the student's credit history; the student cannot have an adverse credit history.

Loan Interest Rate

The interest rate for Graduate PLUS Loans borrowed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 is 7.21 percent. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.

Loan Origination Fee

There is a 4.204 percent loan fee on all Graduate PLUS Loans disbursed after July 1, 2014.

Annual Borrowing Limits

The maximum loan amount is the Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives.

Disbursement

Loan proceeds pay directly to the student's tuition account.

How to Apply

  1. Request your borrowing limit by sending e-mail, to loanhelp@smith.edu
  2. Decide how much to borrow
  3. Apply for lender approval at www.studentloans.gov
  4. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov
  5. Complete Graduate PLUS Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov

What Happens Next

  1. PLUS Loan requests are transmitted to Smith
  2. Credit-approved loans are reviewed for Smith approval
  3. Approved loans are originated (created in our system and transmitted to the Department of Education). The Department of Education then sends disclosures about the newly created loans directly to borrowers.
  4. Originated loans linked to valid MPNs disburse on a weekly basis, but not earlier than 10 days before the start of each term.
  5. The department assigns disbursed loans to servicers (companies that will manage the loans). Servicing includes, but is not limited to, billing, payment processing, deferment requests, etc.

Repayment

Repayment of the loan begins six months after the student leaves Smith College, graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. The six-month time frame is considered the grace period.

You can estimate your monthly loan repayments using the Federal Loan Calculator.

Exit Counseling

Students who have borrowed through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program are required to complete exit counseling if they are no longer enrolled at least half-time. Smith College will be notified electronically when this requirement has been completed.