Graduate Student Loans FAQ

Eligibility

Your school may send you an award notice with your estimated loan eligibility. Traditional Masters and Doctoral students may qualify for up to $20,500 in federal unsubsidized Direct Loan funding. Students in Health Professions programs may qualify for additional unsubsidized Direct Loan funding. Grad PLUS eligibility is unique per student.

Cost of Attendance – Gift Aid =  Possible Loan Eligibility

If you submitted a FAFSA for the academic year and qualify for federal loans, Penn will automatically award you your maximum loan amount. It is then up to you to accept the loan or decline the loan.

Yes. Students who wish to take out federal loan funding must be enrolled at least half-time during the semester they wish to receive federal loan funding.

You need to speak with your loan servicer. They can be viewed on https://studentaid.gov. If you are in default on a Perkins Loan please contact your school you borrowed from. You will need to discuss with your lender how to get out of default. If you are cleared you will need to send your Title IV release letter to stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu with the subject line “DEFAULT CLEARED FOR *YOUR NAME HERE*”

There are no subsidized Federal Title IV funds for graduate students. Health Profession programs may have need-based Title VII funding for students who demonstrate need.

Unsubsidized Direct Loans

You must submit the FAFSA each academic year you wish to receive the Unsubsidized Direct Loan. If you qualify Penn will automatically award you this loan. You will receive an email to your Penn email with this information when the loan has been processed.

You must complete Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan. We strongly recommend waiting until after you receive your loan letter detailing how much you qualify for before completing.

For the 2020-21 academic year the rate is 4.03% fixed.

Yes. The Federal government takes a small fee out of the loan before it is paid to your student account.

Paid between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020 1.059%
Paid between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 1.057%

 

If you have completed these items before your loan is processed please allow up to 5 business days after the loan is processed to link to your account. If your loan is not processed by our office the entrance counseling and master promissory note will show as incomplete.

The federal government sets all Unsubsidized Direct Loan limits. More information can be viewed here.

Yes. Students who wish to take out federal loan funding must be enrolled at least half-time during the semester they wish to receive federal loan funding.

If your loan creates a refund on your account please allow 7-10 business days for your refund to be processed. The quickest way for this to reach you is direct deposit. Please contact student accounts at stuaccts@pobox.upenn.edu for any refund questions.

You may have reached your aggerate loan borrowing limit. You may also be receiving scholarship aid that does not allow for full eligibility.

Grad PLUS Loan

You must apply on https://studentaid.gov/ each year you wish to receive the loan. Penn will not automatically award the loan as it is based on a credit check. 

We strongly suggest you borrow per academic year. Your requested dates should reflect the first day of classes and your end date should reflect the last day of your classes. Please consult your academic calendar for these dates. Ex: If you start August 31 and finish May 12, your requested dates should be August through May.

If you are approved without an endorser you must complete the loan agreement (Master Promissory Note) for the Grad PLUS Loan at https://studentaid.gov/.

If you have before your loan is processed please allow up to 5 business days after the loan is processed to link to your account. If your loan is not processed by our office the master promissory note will show incomplete.

Yes, you must be enrolled at least half-time in your program to receive federal loan funding

You may appeal the credit decision on https://studentaid.gov/ or gain an endorser (cosigner) on the loan.

You are required to notify our loan staff at stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu stating you were approved. Your subject line should be “ENDORCER APPROVED LOAN *YOUR NAME HERE*” Please note you are also required to complete PLUS Credit Counseling and the Master Promissory Note before we award you the endorsed loan.

Please allow 7-10 business days for processing of all Grad PLUS Loans. During our busy times (Summer, Bill releasement , Holds, etc.) this may take up to 20 business days. If it has been over a month since you have submitted your application please reach out to us at stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu.

For the 2020-21 academic year the rate is 5.03% fixed.

Yes. The Federal government takes a small fee out of the loan before it is paid to your student account.

Paid between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020 4.236%
Paid between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 4.228%

 

Summer Semester Loans

Most students use their full unsubsidized eligibility in the Fall and Spring terms leaving them only Grad PLUS eligibility in the Summer. Please reach out to us at stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu for your specific case.

Yes, you are required to be enrolled at least half-time. Financial aid for summer spans Summer 1 and Summer 2 so you may be enrolled at least one CU each term to equal two CUs in the summer for half-time status.

Each program is unique. Please contact us at stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu for information on your specific program.

Private Alternative Loans

No, each lender has their own repayment options. You need to consult with your private lender for repayment options.

Please allow 7-10 business days for processing of all alternative loans. During our busy times (Summer, Bill releasement, holds, etc.) this may take up to 20 business days. If it has been over a month since you have submitted your application please reach out to us.

We strongly suggest you borrow per academic year. Your requested date should reflect the first day of classes and your end date should reflect the last day of your classes. Please consult your academic calendar for these dates. Ex: If you start August 31 and finish May 12, your requested dates should be August through May.

Reducing/Returning Loans

Please email stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu with subject line: “Return Loan Funding.” Include your full name, Penn ID, and the net amount of loan you wish to return. During high volume times it may take up to 20 business days to process your request.

Please email stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu with subject line: "Return Loan Funding." Include your full name, Penn ID, and net amount of loan you wish to return. During high volume times it may take up to 20 business days to process your request.

Please note that due to refunds being processed soon after disbursement you may receive these unwanted refund monies. It is your responsibility to hold on to this loan refund while our team processes your request. Once your request is processed you may see a balance on your account which should be paid using your refund.

If you are receiving federal loan funding you should contact our loan team at stuloans@pobox.upenn.edu within 120 days of your disbursement.  If you are receiving private loan funding, please contact us as well for any adjustment. During high volume times it may take up to 20 business days to process your request.

We will return per your request. Please note, due to refunds being processed soon after disbursement you may receive these unwanted refund monies. It is your responsibility to hold on to this loan refund while our team processes your request. Once your request is processed you may see a balance on your account which should be paid using your refund.

Nursing Student Loans/Loans for Disadvantaged Students/McKeen Student Loans

Eligibility for these loans is determined by your school's specific financial aid office. You should reach out to them for more information on how to apply and any deadlines.

International Students

There are few loans for international students to be approved without a co-signer. These may include Prodigy and MPower. You should reach out to them for more information.

Many private lenders will allow international students to borrow with a U.S. citizen or permeant resident co-signer. You should reach out to the lender of your choice to get more information.

General Questions

If you submitted a FAFSA for the academic year and qualify for federal loans, Penn will automatically award you your maximum loan amount. It is then up to you if you wish to accept the loan or decline the loan. You may decline this loan on the Penn Loan System.

If you have completed these items before your loan is processed please allow up to 5 business days after the loan is processed to link to your account. If your loan is not processed by our office, the entrance counseling and master promissory note will show incomplete.

To avoid late fees, your loan application must be received by the university no later then 30 day prior to the due date.

Yes, as these are two different loans, you need two separate Master Promissory Notes.

Please contact your alternative loan servicers to discuss repayment with them directly.

Please contact your loan servicer. You can view who your servicer is on https://studentaid.gov.