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Types of Financial Aid

Student Loans

Student Loans are included in most students' financial aid awards. Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest.

Loans included in the award letter are considered to be accepted by the student until we receive notice of decrease or decline in writing. You may decrease or decline the loan by emailing loanhelp@smith.edu or noting your decision on your financial aid award letter and returning it to the Office of Student Financial Services.

The three types of loans most commonly awarded to students enrolled at Smith:

Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal direct student loans are used by many students to help finance educational costs.

A subsidized loan does not accrue interest while you are in school. An unsubsidized loan does accrue interest while you are enrolled.

More information about federal direct student loans

Eligibility for the subsidized loan is based on the Federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC), college costs for the year and all other sources of aid. Students who do not qualify for the subsidy may still apply and borrow under the unsubsidized program. For unsubsidized loans, interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed. Students qualifying for the subsidized loan may also borrow through the additional unsubsidized program.

Annual Borrowing Limits

The annual loan amounts for dependent undergraduate students are indicated below. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Dependent Student Federal Direct Loan Limits

Base Eligibility Additional Unsubsidized Eligibility Total Student Loan Eligibility Additional Unsubsidized Loan*
First Year $3,500 $2,000 $5,500 $4,000
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,500 $4,000
Junior & Senior $5,500 $2,000 $7,500 $5,000

*Independent students or a dependent student whose parent PLUS Loan has been denied may request the additional unsubsidized loan by contacting our office.

Ada Comstock & Independent Students

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).

Aggregate (lifetime) Borrowing Limits

Dependency Status Maximum Subsidized Maximum Combined Subsidized & Unsubsidized
Dependent undergraduate $23,000 $31,000
Independent undergraduate $23,000 $57,500

Interest Rates

The interest rates for subsidized and unsubsidized direct student loans are fixed and set based on when the loan is first disbursed. The table below lists rates for the past several years:

First Disbursed Subsidized Unsubsidized
July 9, 2009–June 30, 2010 5.6% 6.8%
July 1, 2010–June 30, 2011 4.5% 6.8%
July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012 3.4% 6.8%
July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013 3.4% 6.8%
July 1, 2013–June 30, 2014 3.86% 3.86%
July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015 4.66% 4.66%
July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016 4.29% 4.29%

Loan Origination Fee

The Department of Education deducts a loan origination fee on subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans. The rates according to when loans are first disbursed are as follows:

Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015: 1.073%

Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016: 1.068%

Disbursement Requirements

First-Time Borrowers

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

  • Entrance Counseling (this provides information about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower); and
  • Master Promissory Note

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.

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.

Unsubsidized loans accrue interest during the grace period. Subsidized loans disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014 also accrue interest during the grace period. Subsidized loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2012 and after July 1, 2014 do not accrue interest during the grace period.

Loan Calculator

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

Exit Counseling

Students who have borrowed through the Federal Direct Student 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. Visit www.studentloans.gov for more information.

Questions?

Please contact us at loanhelp@smith.edu.

Federal Perkins Loans

A federal Perkins loan is a fixed rate federal loan made available through Smith College to help you meet the costs of postsecondary education. Smith has limited Perkins funding and funds are awarded at the discretion of the staff of the Office of Student Financial Services.

More information about federal Perkins loans

Eligibility depends on many factors but is determined by your calculated financial need.

There are no processing fees deducted from the Perkins Loan.

Loan Limits

The Office of Student Financial Services determines the amount not to exceed the federal limits of:

Maximum Annual Amount Maximum Cumulative Amount
First-Year Students$5,500 $11,000
Sophomores$5,500 $11,000
Juniors$5,500 $27,000
Seniors$5,500 $27,000

Interest Rates

The rate is 5.0% and it is fixed for the life of the loan.

Disbursement Requirements (New Borrowers)

Perkins Loan Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note requirements must be on record as satisfied before the Perkins Loan may disburse. Instructions are as follows:

  • Entrance Counseling: www.mappingyourfuture.org
  • Electronic Master Promissory Note (e-MPN)*: https://ipromise.campuspartners.com
  • *This office must FIRST transmit Perkins award data to Campus Partners, Smith's current loan servicer. Campus Partners and/or this office will then notify Perkins awardees to go to the iPromise website to complete an e-MPN and to retrieve their loan disclosure.
  • A sample paper Perkins Master Promissory Note to review terms in more detail is available. Note that this document is not meant in satisfying the promissory note requirement.

Disbursement

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

Repayment

Repayment of the loan begins nine months after the student leaves Smith College, graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. The nine-month timeframe is considered the grace period. The monthly payment amount depends on the amount borrowed, but it may not be less than $40 per month. The repayment period is 10 years.

Exit Counseling (Exiting/Former Students)

Students who are graduating, who have ceased enrollment or who have dropped below half-time enrollment, are required to complete the following exit requirements.

Questions?

Please contact us at loanhelp@smith.edu.

International Student Loans

Smith College International Student Loans are made available through private funds administered by Smith College. These funds are limited and loans are included as part of a student's financial aid award.

More information about international student loans

Annual Borrowing Limits

Listed below are projected need-based loan limitations. These levels are estimated and moderate changes may be made each year.

Loan Award
First-Year Students$3,000
Sophomores$4,000
Juniors$5,650
Seniors$6,200

Interest Rate

Six percent, beginning six months after you graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment. Interest can be deferred if you enroll at least half time in graduate school.

Disbursement Requirements

  • Master Promissory Note (enclosed with award letter; first-time borrowers only). Faxed copies cannot be accepted
  • Truth In Lending Act Loan Disclosure (enclosed with award letter; required for each loan)
  • Self-Certification Form (enclosed with award letter; required for each loan)

Disbursement

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

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. The monthly payment amount depends on the amount borrowed, but it may not be less than $50 per month. The repayment period is 10 years.

Questions?

Please contact us at loanhelp@smith.edu.