University Office of Student Financial Aid
Loan Funding Options for
All Graduate & Medical Students
After reviewing your financial aid award and your estimated eligibility for the Federal Stafford Loan, you may find it necessary to explore additional financial aid options. If you find that the funds offered to you from Jefferson and/or federal financial aid sources, are insufficient to meet your education costs, you may want to consider applying for a Federal Graduate PLUS loan or an alternative (private) loan.
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is a less strict credit-based loan with a fixed 7.9% interest rate. Interest will accrue while enrolled in school. Annual loan maximum is the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid received in the academic year. Unlike the private Alternative Loan, this loan will not change interest rates and has a cancellation provision in cases of death or permanent disability. This has a 25-year repayment period and has deferment and forbearance privileges. To apply for this loan, go to the Student Loans site. Alternative loans are private, non-need, credit-based funds borrowed by the students to meet educational costs. However, the lender may require a cosigner. Annual loan maximum is the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid received in the academic year. Please be advised that alternative loans will accrue interest while enrolled in school and do have a variable interest rate, changing as frequently as every 3 months. Currently, interest rates are between 3.25% and 12.5%. Additionally, lending institutions will use credit scoring to determine your eligibility for an alternative loan. Therefore, a good credit status is absolutely necessary. A comparison of the two programs is attached. This application will be available after May 1, 2012.
The terms for private alternative loan programs and the GRAD PLUS loan are outlined at the lenders website. For more information on the GRAD PLUS or to apply online, go to the Student Loan site. For more information about the private loan and/or to apply online, go to one of our suggested lenders Webs sites below:
Citizens Bank (Private loan only)
Discover Student Loans (Private loan only)
PNC Bank (Private loan only)
SunTrust Bank (Private loan only)
Union Federal (Private loan only)
Wells Fargo/Alternative Loan Program for Health Professions (Private loan only)
Follow the instructions on each of their web pages to apply for the Private Alternative loan. You can also choose a private loan lender other then those listed above. However, all Grad PLUS loans must be applied for through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.
When applying for either of these loans please make sure you enter school code, 01239302.
Students must be a US citizen or permanent resident, must have acceptable credit, and MUST have borrowed the full amount of Federal Stafford Loan eligibility first.
If you are concerned about eligibility for either of these loans based on an uncertain credit record, our office highly recommends you complete the pre-approval application process after May 15 with the lender you decide to use. You may also want to go to Annual Credit Report for a free copy of your credit report including all three credit bureaus or go to FICO to get a copy of your credit score.
If you have any questions regarding this process or general financial aid questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (215) 955-2867 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Aid Office Staff
Thomas Jefferson University
Federal Graduate PLUS and Private Loans: Which do you borrow? Which is best for you?
If after you have applied for a Federal Stafford Loan and you still need additional funds to cover your remaining educational expenses as included in your Student Expense Budget, you may want to consider either a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan or a Private Alternative Loan. Students usually don't borrow both but instead choose one of these loans that they are most comfortable and feel that the terms better fit their borrowing preferences.
|Federal Graduate PLUS Loan||Private Loan|
|Borrower||Student is borrower||Student is borrower|
|Lender||The Federal Direct Student Loan Program must be used to apply for the PLUS loan as mandated by new federal regulations.||May choose any lender who offers private educational loans. See our suggested list of lenders.|
|Credit check||Eligibility based on approval of credit history (no accounts in default, collections status, charge off, write off, or 90-days past due status), not credit score; if credit requirement not met, a credit-worthy endorser is an option for eligibility.||Credit approval based on credit score and history; a credit worthy co-signer, who agrees to be liable for the loan, may be required for best terms or eligibility.|
|Annual maximum||Cost of attendance less financial aid||Generally, cost of attendance less financial aid|
|Aggregate maximum||None||Varies by lender|
|Interest Rate||7.9% fixed rate||Varies by lender, credit score, and co-signer status - Most lenders offer a variable interest rate that change as often at 4 times a year. Usually there is no ceiling on private loans.|
|Fees||4% fee as mandated by the federal government.||Varies from 0%-5% for origination and/or repayment fees, according to the lender, student's credit score, and whether the loan is co-signed.|
|Deferment and forbearance||In-school deferment and possible 6-month forbearance to align with other Federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans that still maintain a grace period.||Generally, not available, but some lenders may offer forbearance for medical residencies.|
|Grace period||None||Varies by lender between 6-9 months.|
|Repayment terms||Choice between standard, graduated, extended, and income-contingent terms.||Varies by lender; sometimes interest-only payments allowed during early years.|
|Repayment period||10-25 years depending on repayment option chosen and amount owed.||Varies 10-25 years, according to the lender and amount owed.|
|Eligible for federal consolidation||Yes||No|
|Death/disability||Cancelled if borrower dies or becomes totally, permanently disabled.||Most loans are insured against death or disability.|
|Promissory note||Master promissory note (MPN) covers multiple direct loans up to 10 years. However, a new application must be completed each year due to credit check requirements.||New application and promissory note must be completed each year.|
If you have any questions regarding these loan programs or completing your loan MPN or other loan application, please contact the University Office of Financial Aid at (215) 955-2867 or financial.aid @jefferson.edu.