Student Loans

Graduate Student Loans

The two most common types of loans available to graduate students are the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan. Both of these loans are funded through the U.S. Department of Education. Graduate students may also qualify for loans originated by private financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions. However, Mercyhurst encourages students to first consider loans provided through the federal government because they typically offer lower interest rates and more favorable repayment options.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by Mercyhurst University. The only type of Federal Direct Loan available to graduate students is the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. It is available to all students who are enrolled in graduate school at least half-time -- regardless of income or financial need.

The amount of funds that you may borrow in a given year is subject to the following limits:
(1.) You may borrow any amount up to the difference between your Estimated Cost of Attendance — which includes tuition, fees, books, and living costs — and any financial aid you already expect to receive, such as tuition waivers or scholarships. For example, if your Estimated Cost of Attendance is $17,500 and you are not expecting to receive any other type of financial aid, you may be eligible to borrow up to $17,500 for the academic year. Your admissions counselor can help you determine your Estimated Cost of Attendance based on your degree program and living arrangements.

(2.) The maximum amount you may borrow in one academic year is currently $20,500. Even if your Estimated Cost of Attendance is greater than this amount, your maximum loan cannot be greater than $20,500.

(3.) The maximum amount of your cumulative (lifetime) federal loan debt may not exceed $138,500. This includes all prior undergraduate, graduate and professional school loans that you have received. You can access your federal student loan borrowing history at this site: www.nslds.ed.gov.

The interest rate for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans is currently fixed at 6.8%. You will be charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You have the option to pay on the interest while in school, or to allow the interest to accumulate, which adds to the principal amount of the loan and increases the amount to be repaid.

The U.S. Department of Education deducts a 1% Loan Origination Fee prior to disbursement of funds to the school. For example, if you receive a $1,000 loan, Mercyhurst will receive $990 from the Depart of Education and will apply the $990 to your student account. You must repay the $1,000 loan principle as well as any accrued interest.

Applying for a Federal Direct Loan

As with all federal student aid, you apply for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most students use FAFSA on the Web to complete their applications electronically. The information on your FAFSA is then transmitted to the schools that you list on the application. You do not need to complete any additional Mercyhurst financial aid forms.

Next, you will receive notice of your loan eligibility in a Financial Aid Award letter that you will receive from Mercyhurst. Once you receive the letter you will need to sign your Federal Direct Loan Promissory Note and complete entrance counseling. This is done on-line through the U.S. Office of Education website, www.direct.ed.gov.

Entrance Counseling will explain the details of your student loan, such as the origination fee, interest rate, repayment schedule, and your rights and responsibilities. It concludes with a 15-question quiz which you must successfully complete.

Mercyhurst will be notified electronically after you complete the Master Loan Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. Mercyhurst is not permitted to disburse your Federal Direct Loan funds until both the MPN and Entrance Counseling are completed.

Receiving Federal Direct Loan Funds

When Mercyhurst is notified by the Federal Direct Loan Program that your MPN and Entrance Counseling has been completed, your Federal Direct Loan will automatically be credited to your student account as long as all other federal student aid eligibility requirements are met, and the initial disbursement date has arrived for the term.

Requesting a Reduction or Cancellation of Federal Direct Loans

You have the right to reduce or cancel your Federal Direct Loan offer. You may do so by completing a Financial Aid Adjustment Form and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Services. Once a loan is disbursed, you may request it to be canceled or reduced within 30 days after disbursement, using the same methods described above.

If you take no action, it is assumed that you have accepted the loan funds and the Office of SFS will continue processing loan disbursements until you tell us otherwise. In cases where no Master Promissory Note and/or Entrance Counseling has been completed and no funds have been disbursed to your account in approximately 90 days after the bill due date, the loan will be automatically canceled. You will need to complete a Financial Aid Adjustment form in order for the loans to be reinstated.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

Graduate PLUS Loans are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered through Mercyhurst University. They are available to all students who are enrolled in a graduate program at least half-time, and who meet the established credit requirements. You must exhaust your Stafford Loan eligibility (including the above Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan) before you can apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan.

You may borrow any amount up to the difference between your Estimated Cost of Attendance — which includes tuition, fees, books, and living costs— and any financial aid you already expect to receive, such as tuition waivers, scholarships, or federal direct unsubsidized loans. For example, if your Estimated Cost of Attendance is $17,500 and you are not expecting to receive any other type of financial aid, you may be eligible to borrow up to $17,500 for the academic year. Your admissions counselor can help you determine your Estimated Cost of Attendance based on your degree program and living arrangements.

The interest rate for a Graduate PLUS Loans loan is currently fixed at 7.9%. You are charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You have the option to pay on the interest while in school, or to allow the interest to accumulate, which adds to the principal amount of the loan and increases the amount to be repaid.

The U.S. Department of Education deducts a 4% Loan Origination Fee before disbursing the funds to Mercyhurst. For example, if you receive a $1,000 loan, Mercyhurst will receive $960 and will apply this amount to your student account. When you repay the loan to the U.S. Department of Education, you will repay the $1,000 principle plus any accrued interest.

Applying for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan

The application process for the Graduate PLUS Loan is the same as the process for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan described above.

Receiving Federal Direct PLUS Loan Funds

When Mercyhurst is notified by the Federal Direct Loan Program that your MPN and Entrance Counseling has been completed, your Federal Direct PLUS Loan will automatically be credited to your student account as long as all other federal student aid eligibility requirements are met, and the initial disbursement date has arrived for the term.

Requesting a Reduction or Cancellation of Federal Direct PLUS Loan

The process for requesting a reduction or cancellation of a Federal Direct PLUS loan is the same as the process for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan described above.

Private Loans

There are a large number of private commercial educational loan options to assist students in meeting university costs. It is recommended that you consider obtaining a private alternative loan only if you need funds above and beyond the maximum amount of Federal Direct Loans.

Most private alternative lenders rely heavily on the creditworthiness of the student (and cosigner, if applicable) to determine the best interest rate and whether the loan application will be approved.

Mercyhurst University recommends that borrowers compare and research various private alternative lenders available in the marketplace. To help expedite your search, you can visit this website: ELM SELECT. We have selected the following lenders based on superior customer service and good loan terms for our borrowers. The choice of a lender is ultimately that of the borrower and we will promptly process any Alternative Loan request without bias. Please know that Mercyhurst proudly adheres to the Student Loan Code of Conduct.

Events

Theatre: The Laramie Project

Dates: Apr 24 - Apr 27, 2014

Location: Taylor Little Theatre

MET HD Live: Così Fan Tutte

Dates: Apr 26

Location: Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

An Afternoon of Dance

Dates: Apr 27

Location: Ridge Library Great Room, North East

grad_catalog_2013
Mercyhurst University Apply Online