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Student loans are included in most students' financial aid awards. Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Students at Smith must use Net Partner to accept, decline, or reduce loans offered as part of a financial aid award.
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.
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 can generally also borrow through the additional unsubsidized program.
Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Annual Borrowing Limits
The annual maximum loan amounts for dependent undergraduate students are indicated below.
Dependent Student Federal Direct Loan Limits
|Base Eligibility||Additional Unsubsidized Eligibility||Total Student Loan Eligibility||Additional Unsubsidized Loan*|
|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.
Aggregate (lifetime) Borrowing Limits
|Dependency Status||Maximum Subsidized||Maximum Combined Subsidized & Unsubsidized|
The interest rates for subsidized and unsubsidized direct student loans for undergraduate students are fixed and set based on when the loan is first disbursed. The table below lists recent rates.
|July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020||4.53%||4.53%|
The Department of Education charges origination fees on Direct Loans. Fees are deducted from (versus added to) Direct Loan amounts; therefore, net disbursements to tuition accounts are less than the loan amounts being borrowed (and which appear on award letters). Note that it is the gross loan amount that must be repaid. The fee rates for subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans are as follows:
First disbursed Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019: 1.062%
First disbursed Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020: 1.059%
On or after you receive your finalized award letter beginning May 1, go to https://studentloans.gov and complete:
- Entrance Counseling (this provides information about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower)
- Master Promissory Note
Smith will be notified electronically after you have completed these requirements.
Loan proceeds are applied to the student's account in two disbursements, one each semester.
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 do not accrue interest during the grace period.
When a borrower receives a Federal loan, the loan provider must submit that information to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Information in NSLDS is accessible to schools, lenders, and guarantors that are authorized users of the data system. Students are also able to log in and access all of their federal loan information. Students will need to have their FSA ID in order to access information.
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 https://studentloans.gov for more information.