Federal Loans for Undergraduate Students
Student as the Borrower
Federal Loans for Undergraduate Students
These loans are also known as "Stafford" loans or "Direct" loans. Students who submit a FAFSA and are eligible for federal aid usually have the federal student loans automatically packaged for them, and then they choose to accept or decline the loan in Goucher's financial aid system (Net Partner). Students may accept a reduced amount by changing the dollar amount before accepting. Students accepting a federal loan for the first time will also need to complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to finalize their acceptance of a federal loan.
For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid website.
Federal Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans
The total dollar amount of maximum federal loan eligibility is based on the earned credits or class year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior/Senior). How much of the loan is subsidized or unsubsidized is based on financial need. Subsidized loans have better terms, so a student should first accept the subsidized loan, and then accept any unsubsidized as needed. A student's maximum eligibility for subsidized loans is automatically packaged for them, however this amount can sometimes change if additional financial aid (such as outside scholarships) is awarded later. If a student's subsidized loan eligibility changes, then they will always have the option of accepting any remaining amount in an unsubsidized loan.
For more information visit the Federal Student Aid website.
Parent as the Borrower
Federal Parent PLUS Loans
Parents of undergraduate students may apply for a federal Parent PLUS loan. (The student must complete a FAFSA before a parent can apply.) If approved, then parents are able to borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus any current financial aid. This is typically more than what is needed to cover the direct billable costs from Goucher, since you can also borrow to cover indirect costs such as books and transportation. If a parent is denied a federal parent PLUS loan, then this typically makes the student eligible to borrow an additional unsubsidized loan. A parent may apply by logging in at studentaid.gov. (If the parent who is applying is not the same one that electronically signed the student's FAFSA, then they will first need to create their own FSA ID and password.) Please see our Parent PLUS Loan Tip Sheet (PDF) for a more detailed explanation of the application process.
Federal Loans for Graduate Students
Graduate Student Borrowers
Federal Unsubsidized Loans
Graduate students who submit a FAFSA and are eligible for federal aid will be eligible for a unsubsidized federal loan in any semester where they are registered at least half-time (4.5 credits). After submitting their FAFSA, graduate students should submit a Graduate Student Expected Enrollment form to our office. Loans will be packaged based on the enrollment indicated on the form, and will be finalized based on the enrollment after the drop period. If a graduate student drops to below half-time, then they are no longer eligible for the loan for that term. After the student is notified that the loan has been packaged, then they choose to accept or decline the loan in Goucher's financial aid system (Net Partner). Students may accept a reduced amount by changing the dollar amount before accepting. Students accepting a federal loan for the first time will also need to complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to finalize their acceptance of a federal loan. The total dollar amount of federal loan eligibility is based on your enrollment and limited by the federal maximum limits.
Federal Graduate PLUS Loans
Graduate students who cannot meet their borrowing needs with the unsubsidized loan may also apply for a Graduate PLUS loan. A graduate student may apply online by logging in at studentaid.gov. First-time borrowers of a Graduate PLUS loan at Goucher may also need to complete a separate set of Entrance Counseling and a PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) specifically for the PLUS loan. Please see our Graduate PLUS Loan Tip Sheet (PDF) for a more detailed explanation of the application process.
We suggest completing a FAFSA and considering all federal loan options before applying for private outside loans. We do not make any specific recommendations, other than to review the loan terms carefully. Most private loans do not have terms that are as good as the federal student loans.
- Finaid.org: Resource site for comparing private student loans
- ELM Select: Resource site for comparing private student loans
- Central Scholarship: Interest-Free Loans for Maryland Residents
- Private Loan Application Process (PDF)
- Private Education Loan Self-Certification (PDF)
How much should I borrow?
This depends on if you are borrowing to cover only your direct billable costs, or if you are looking to borrow more to also help cover indirect out-of-pocket costs like books. Federal loans have origination fees, so you will need to borrow a bit more than what you need. Remember to engage in responsible borrowing. These are loans that you will need to pay back. You may review the Calculators and Estimators section of our resources page for tools to help you figure out how much to borrow.
When do I accept my loans?
Loans should be accepted (and, if necessary, the MPN and Entrance Counseling completed) by at least 1 week prior to the billing statement due date. Loans may be accepted or re-instated up until approximately 3 weeks prior to the end of the term for which they apply. (December 1st for Fall, May 1st for Spring or for the entire academic year. Student needs to have studied and completed at least half-time.) Please note that late fees from the billing office may apply if you make payment arrangements based on having loans, but fail to complete all the necessary tasks to officially accept and finalize the loans until after the billing due date.
Loan Cancellation or Modification Policy
You have the right as a Federal loan borrower to cancel all or part of a Federal loan within 14 days of disbursement. Disbursement typically happens about 2-3 weeks after classes start each semester. If you wish to cancel or change a loan, then please contact the financial aid office or complete and submit the appropriate Loan Modification/Cancellation form.
Federal Perkins Loans
- Per Federal Regulations, colleges are no longer able to award Perkins Loans.
- For information on Federal Perkins Loan repayment, contact our Goucher Billing Office.
- For information on your past Federal Perkins loan amount(s) as well as servicer information, log in to your account at studentaid.gov using the same FSA ID and password as for your FAFSA.
Goucher College Code of Conduct for Student Loans
Download: Student Loan Code of Conduct (PDF)