The Catholic University of America

Financial Aid

Stafford Loan - Grad PLUS - Private Loan

Congress passed legislation in 2006 with changes regarding financial aid. The two major changes which effect Graduate/Law students are (1) a fixed interest rate for the Federal Stafford Loan and (2) a new fixed interest rate loan called the Grad PLUS loan.

I. A Fixed Rate for the Federal Stafford Loan.

All federal Stafford Loans disbursed after July 1, 2006 will be at a fixed interest rate of 6.8%. Any previously borrowed Stafford Loans will continue to be a variable rate, capped at 8.25%, unless consolidated into a federal consolidation loan.

II. A new Grad PLUS Loan

Beginning Fall 2006, graduate students will be able to borrow through the federal PLUS loan program to help fund their education. Your parent(s) may recall the term PLUS Loan from your undergraduate financial aid. It was a federal loan offered only to Parents to bridge the gap between their child's financial aid and the remaining cost of attendance. It is now being offered to students for their graduate studies.

You are encouraged to review our Grad PLUS information page as well as the following chart which provides a brief comparison of the 3 types of loans available to students through the financial aid office; Federal Stafford, Federal Grad PLUS and Private Commercial loans. Please consult the chart before deciding to apply for loans.

2007 - 2008

Federal Stafford

Federal Grad PLUS

Private/Commercial

Interest Rate

6.8% fixed

8.5% fixed

A Variable rate based on your Credit. Current rates can range from 7.25% to 16% or higher.

Interest Accrual

Accrued interest is capitalized at repayment

Accrued interest is capitalized at repayment

Accrued interest may be capitalized as often as monthly.

Annual Limits

$20,500

per academic year

Cost of Attendance

minus other aid

Cost of Attendance

minus other aid

Aggregate Limit

$138,500

No Limit

- Varies from lender to lender -

Grace Period

6 months

after graduation or

drops below half-time.

60 days of final disbursement.

9 month

after graduation or

drops below half-time.

Requirements

* Completion of a FAFSA

* A Credit History without any recent black mark; (missed or late payments, defaults, bankruptcies, etc.)

* A Good Credit History.
Some lenders will offer a loan to those with fair or poor credit but the interest rate will be higher.

Death/Disability

Stafford loans can be discharged upon death of borrower. Loan can also be discharged if a borrower becomes permanently disabled.

PLUS loans can be discharged upon death of borrower. Loan can also be discharged if a borrower becomes permanently disabled.

Private loans are NOT insured against death or disability. Loans will not be discharged due to death or disability.

Loan Consolidation

Federal Loan Consolidation is available upon graduation with a fixed interest rate calculated by the weighted average.

Federal Loan Consolidation is available upon graduation with a fixed interest rate calculated by the weighted average.

Most offer a consolidation of the private loans. HOWEVER, the interest rate will be variable and scaled to credit.