Loans

There are three basic types of student loans: 


Federal Need-Based Loans

These federal loans are based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a measure of your or your family's financial position. These include:

  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

Your EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. To determine your EFC, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We have provided details on completing the FAFSA on our "How to Apply" page


Federal Non Need-Based Loans

Students who do not demonstrate sufficient need or do not qualify for a Subsidized Stafford Loan may receive the following loans:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Parent Direct PLUS Loan
  • Federal Graduate Direct PLUS Loan


More About Federal Loans

Private, Credit-Based Loans 

This third type of loan, also called an alternative loan, is available through several lending agencies. Most loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer a fixed interest rate. Simmons College strongly recommends securing a loan with a fixed-interest rate. Interest rates can also vary widely from lender to lender for the same borrower. We recommend that students interested in an alternative loan compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be.

NOTE: Simmons College does not recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students.


There are many lenders available who offer alternative loans. To help you find a lender, we recommend reviewing these sites:

  • FinAid.org provides a list of the more popular lenders. Be advised that the FinAid.org list is very limited and will not provide you with a comprehensive list of all available lenders.


You may find the following tools helpful in researching alternative loans:

See "Loan Requirements" Next!

Parent Direct PLUS Loan

The Parent PLUS Loan is a federally funded loan that enables parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow up to the full cost of attendance less any other financial aid received. Here are details about this loan program:

  • The interest rate on a PLUS loan for the 2016-2017 academic year is fixed at 7.00%.
  • For loans disbursed between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017, the origination fee* is 4.276%.
  • The interest rate on a PLUS loan for the 2015-2016 academic year was fixed at 6.31%.
  • For loans disbursed between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, the origination fee is 4.272%.
  • Disbursements are made in equal installments over the semesters within an academic year.
  • Interest accrues after the first disbursement, but the first payment is not due until approximately 60 days after the loan fully disburses.
  • The repayment period is ten years, although there are extended and graduated plans available.
  • The principal payment may be deferred for up to 4 years while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Interest will accrue during deferment and can be paid quarterly or capitalized.
  • Loans will not be certified for a partial period of enrollment (i.e., a single semester) unless it is the student's final period of enrollment for that academic year.
  • The credit check used to approve the loan is valid for 180 days. Please do not apply for your loan more than 90 days before the start of your intended loan period.

To apply for the PLUS Loan, your parent will go to the Direct Loan website and follow these three steps:

  1. Complete the application
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's FSA ID
    b) Click "Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan"
    c) Select "Direct PLUS Loan Application for Parents"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the application

  2. Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's FSA ID
    b) Choose "Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)"
    c) Select "PLUS MPN for Parents"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the MPN (print a copy and keep for your records)

If you or your parents need assistance determining the amount to request for the PLUS Loan that would incorporate the origination fee*, please contact your assigned financial aid officer.

Dependent students whose parents have been denied a PLUS Loan will have a few options.

  1. You as the student may be able to receive a higher Unsubsidized Stafford Loan amount. Contact us at sfs@simmons.edu or 617-521-2001 if your parent has been denied a PLUS Loan to determine if we can increase your Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

  2. Your parent can contest the credit decision on their PLUS Loan application by appealing directly to the Direct Loan program. More information is available by logging into the Direct Loan website or by calling Applicant Services at 800.557.7394 (8 AM- 8 PM ET, Mon-Fri).

  3. Your parent can choose to add an endorser to their PLUS Loan application in order to get credit approved. To add an endorser, you and your endorser should submit the additional information via the Direct Loan website. For assistance, please contact Applicant Services at 800.577.7394 (8 AM- 8 PM ET, Mon-Fri).

* The origination fee is a processing fee assessed by the government and collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons. Please be sure to increase the amount you are requesting by the origination fee so that the amount disbursed will account for the fee and still cover your costs.

Federal Perkins Loans

This loan is for students who are US citizens/permanent residents with demonstrated financial need as determined by federal regulations. The interest rate is fixed at 5% and there are no origination or insurance fees. The interest does not accrue while the student is in school (at least half time), during the grace period and during periods of deferment. Repayment begins nine months after graduation (or dropping below half time enrollment), continues for up to ten years and can be deferred for graduate school. There are no penalties or fees if the student prepays their loan in part or in full.

To secure the loan:

  • Recipients are required to sign a promissory note prior to the Perkins Loan being disbursed each semester. The promissory note will be made available to you in paper by Student Financial Services. If you are eligible, the note will either be mailed to you, or you will be asked to visit Student Financial Services to sign the note.

Failure to sign the promissory note will result in cancellation of the loan.

Due to the discontinuation of federal funding, Simmons can no longer offer new Perkins loans as of the 2015-2016 financial aid year.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Student Loan

This loan is for undergraduate students who are US citizens/permanent residents with demonstrated financial need as determined by federal regulations. The interest rate for the 2017-2018 academic year is fixed at 4.45%. The interest rate for the 2016-2017 academic year was fixed at 3.76%. The interest is paid by the federal government while the student is in school (at least half time), during the grace period and during periods of deferment. Repayment begins six months after graduation (or dropping below half time enrollment), continues for up to ten years and can be deferred for graduate school. There are no penalties or fees if the student prepays their loan in part or in full.

As with all Stafford and PLUS loan programs, this loan has an origination fee. Loans first disbursed between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 are assessed a 1.068% fee. Loans first disbursed between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 will be assessed a 1.069% fee. This fee is charged by the government and is collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons.

To secure the loan:

Failure to sign both the MPN and Entrance Counseling will result in cancellation of the loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan

This loan is for undergraduate and graduate students who are US citizens/permanent residents and is not based on financial need. The interest rates are as follows:

2017-2018 Academic Year
• Undergraduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 4.45%
• Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 6.00%


2016-2017 Academic Year
• Undergraduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 3.76%
• Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 5.31%

The federal government does not pay the interest on this loan. The interest accrues while the student is in school and can either be paid quarterly or can be capitalized at repayment - meaning the interest would be added to the loan amount borrowed. Repayment begins six months after graduation (or dropping below half time enrollment) and continues for up to ten years. There are no penalties or fees if the student prepays their loan in part or in full.

As with all Stafford and PLUS loan programs, this loan has an origination fee. Loans first disbursed between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 are assessed a 1.068% fee. Loans first disbursed between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 will be assessed a 1.069% fee. This fee is charged by the government and is collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons.

To secure the loan:

Private, Credit-Based Loans 

This third type of loan, also called an alternative loan, is available through several lending agencies. Most loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer a fixed interest rate. Simmons College strongly recommends securing a loan with a fixed-interest rate. Interest rates can also vary widely from lender to lender for the same borrower. We recommend that students interested in an alternative loan compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be.

NOTE: Simmons College does not recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students.


There are many lenders available who offer alternative loans. To help you find a lender, we recommend reviewing these sites:

  • FinAid.org provides a list of the more popular lenders. Be advised that the FinAid.org list is very limited and will not provide you with a comprehensive list of all available lenders.


You may find the following tools helpful in researching alternative loans:

See "Loan Requirements" Next!

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan

This loan is for undergraduate and graduate students who are US citizens/permanent residents and is not based on financial need. The interest rates are as follows:

2017-2018 Academic Year
• Undergraduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 4.45%
• Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 6.00%


2016-2017 Academic Year
• Undergraduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 3.76%
• Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford Loan - 5.31%

The federal government does not pay the interest on this loan. The interest accrues while the student is in school and can either be paid quarterly or can be capitalized at repayment - meaning the interest would be added to the loan amount borrowed. Repayment begins six months after graduation (or dropping below half time enrollment) and continues for up to ten years. There are no penalties or fees if the student prepays their loan in part or in full.

As with all Stafford and PLUS loan programs, this loan has an origination fee. Loans first disbursed between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 are assessed a 1.068% fee. Loans first disbursed between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 will be assessed a 1.069% fee. This fee is charged by the government and is collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons.

To secure the loan:

Graduate Direct PLUS Loan

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a federally funded loan that enables graduate students to borrow up to the full cost of attendance less any other financial aid received. Here are details about this loan program:

  • The interest rate on a PLUS loan for the 2016-2017 academic year is fixed at 7.00%.
  • For loans disbursed between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017, the origination fee* is 4.276%.
  • The interest rate on a PLUS loan for the 2015-2016 academic year was fixed at 6.31%.
  • For loans disbursed between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, the origination fee is 4.272%.
  • Disbursements are made in equal installments over the semesters within an academic year.
  • Interest accrues after the first disbursement, but the first payment is not due until approximately 60 days after the loan fully disburses.
  • The repayment period is ten years, although there are extended and graduated plans available.
  • The principal payment may be deferred for up to 4 years while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Interest will accrue during deferment and can be paid quarterly or capitalized.
  • Loans will not be certified for a partial period of enrollment (i.e., a single semester) unless it is the student's final period of enrollment for that academic year.
  • The credit check used to approve the loan is valid for 180 days. Please do not apply for your loan more than 90 days before the start of your intended loan period.

To apply for the PLUS Loan, you will go to the Direct Loan website and follow these three steps:

  1. Complete the application
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's FSA ID
    b) Choose "Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan"
    c) Select "Direct PLUS Loan Application for Graduate/Professional Students"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the application

  2. Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's FSA ID
    b) Choose "Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)"
    c) Select "PLUS MPN for Graduate/Professional Students"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the MPN (print a copy and keep for your records)

  3. Complete Entrance Counseling
    a) Sign into the Direct Loan website by using the borrower's FSA ID
    b) Choose "Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance Counseling)"
    c) Select "Entrance Counseling"
    d) Complete the requested information and submit the Entrance Counseling (the counseling session will take approximately 30 minutes)

If you need assistance determining the amount to request for the PLUS Loan that would incorporate the origination fee*, please contact your assigned financial aid officer

Students who are denied a PLUS Loan will have a couple options:

  1. You can contest the credit decision on your PLUS Loan application by appealing directly to the Direct Loan program. More information is available by logging into the Direct Loan website or by calling Applicant Services at 800.557.7394 (8 AM- 8 PM ET, Mon-Fri).

  2. You can choose to add an endorser to your PLUS Loan application in order to get credit approved. To add an endorser, you and your endorser should submit the additional information via the Direct Loan website. For assistance, please contact Applicant Services at 800.577.7394 (8 AM- 8 PM ET, Mon-Fri).

* The origination fee is a processing fee assessed by the government and collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons. Please be sure to increase the amount you apply for by the origination fee so that the amount disbursed will account for the fee and still cover your costs.

Private, Credit-Based Loans 

This third type of loan, also called an alternative loan, is available through several lending agencies. Most loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer a fixed interest rate. Simmons College strongly recommends securing a loan with a fixed-interest rate. Interest rates can also vary widely from lender to lender for the same borrower. We recommend that students interested in an alternative loan compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be.

NOTE: Simmons College does not recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students.


There are many lenders available who offer alternative loans. To help you find a lender, we recommend reviewing these sites:

  • FinAid.org provides a list of the more popular lenders. Be advised that the FinAid.org list is very limited and will not provide you with a comprehensive list of all available lenders.


You may find the following tools helpful in researching alternative loans:

See "Loan Requirements" Next!

Private, Credit-Based Loans 

This third type of loan, also called an alternative loan, is available through several lending agencies. Most loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer a fixed interest rate. Simmons College strongly recommends securing a loan with a fixed-interest rate. Interest rates can also vary widely from lender to lender for the same borrower. We recommend that students interested in an alternative loan compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be.

NOTE: Simmons College does not recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students.


There are many lenders available who offer alternative loans. To help you find a lender, we recommend reviewing these sites:

  • FinAid.org provides a list of the more popular lenders. Be advised that the FinAid.org list is very limited and will not provide you with a comprehensive list of all available lenders.


You may find the following tools helpful in researching alternative loans:

See "Loan Requirements" Next!

Federal Entrance Counseling

All recipients of Stafford or PLUS loans are required by federal regulations to complete Entrance Counseling. You must complete the interview before Simmons College will credit loan funds to your account. This online Entrance Counseling will provide you with information concerning your student loan, including your rights and responsibilities as a borrower, interest rates and other loan details, and who to contact if you have questions. Use your Federal Student Aid ID to sign-in to the website below to complete your interview. Here are instructions:

  1. Sign into the Direct Loan website using your FSA ID.
  2. Choose "Complete Loan Counseling (Entrance, Financial Awareness, Exit)".
  3. Click "START" next to "Entrance Counseling (Required)".
  4. Select Simmons College as your school and click "NOTIFY THIS SCHOOL".
  5. Indicate your student type (graduate or undergraduate).
  6. Follow the remaining prompts and instructions on each page.
  7. The system will display a "you have successfully completed Entrance Counseling" message and send you and email when you have finished.

This process will take approximately 30-45 minutes and it is generally advisable to have your award letter and bill on hand for reference. 

Signing Your Master Promissory Note

Recipients are also required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) prior to the first disbursement of any Stafford or PLUS loans. Failure to sign the promissory note will result in cancellation of the loan. Please note that Stafford Loan MPNs are generally valid for up to 10 years and typically only need to be signed once. PLUS loans, however, must be signed for each year. To sign your MPN, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Sign into the Direct Loan website using your FSA ID.
  2. Choose "Complete Loan Agreement (Master Promissory Note)"
  3. Click "START" next to your loan program type. (Careful! Graduate students signing for their Graduate Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan still need to select "MPN for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans" here.)
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions and prompts on each page
  5. Enter your name and click "SIGN & SUBMIT"
  6. You will know you have finished when you reach the "Confirmation" screen and receive a confirmation email

This process will take approximately 15 minutes and you will need several pieces of information:

  • The borrower's FSA ID (an FSA ID can be obtained here)
  • The borrower's driver's license number
  • The names, completed addresses, and phone numbers for two references living at two separate addresses. One should be a family member.
Federal Exit Counseling

If you received Stafford or PLUS loan funds as part of your financial aid award while enrolled at Simmons College, federal regulations require that you complete an exit interview when you graduate, withdraw, or cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis. This online Exit Counseling will provide you with information concerning your student loan, including your rights and responsibilities as a borrower, interest rates, other loan details, and who to contact if you have questions. Here are instructions:

1. Sign into the Direct Loan website using your FSA ID.
2. Choose "Complete Counseling".
3. Select "Exit Counseling"
4. Follow the onscreen instructions and prompts on each page to complete and submit your Exit Counseling

Private, Credit-Based Loans 

This third type of loan, also called an alternative loan, is available through several lending agencies. Most loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer a fixed interest rate. Simmons College strongly recommends securing a loan with a fixed-interest rate. Interest rates can also vary widely from lender to lender for the same borrower. We recommend that students interested in an alternative loan compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be.

NOTE: Simmons College does not recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students.


There are many lenders available who offer alternative loans. To help you find a lender, we recommend reviewing these sites:

  • FinAid.org provides a list of the more popular lenders. Be advised that the FinAid.org list is very limited and will not provide you with a comprehensive list of all available lenders.


You may find the following tools helpful in researching alternative loans:

See "Loan Requirements" Next!