Types of Loans

Graduate Federal Loans

Graduate students who are registered for 5 or more credits per semester are eligible to apply for the following federal loans:

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan is for students who are US citizens/permanent residents and does not require a credit check. Details on this loan:

  • The interest rate on an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan for the 2019-2020 academic year is fixed at 6.08%
  • Interest begins to accrue after the first disbursement and can either be paid quarterly or can be capitalized meaning the interest would be added to the loan amount borrowed. 
  • This loan has an origination fee charged by the government and collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons. 
    • Loans disbursed between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 will have an origination fee of 1.062%
    • Loans disbursed between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020 will have an origination fee of 1.059%
  • Standard repayment begins six months after graduation (or dropping below half time enrollment) and continues for up to ten years, although there are extended repayment plays (up to 25 years) available.
  • There are no penalties or fees if you prepay your loan in part or in full.

To apply for this loan

Failure to sign both the MPN and Entrance Counseling will result in cancelation of 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  2019-2020 academic year is fixed at 7.08%
  • This loan has an origination fee charged by the government and collected from the loan before the funds are sent to Simmons.
    • Loans disbursed between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 will have an origination fee of 4.248%
    • Loans disbursed between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020 will have an origination fee of 4.236%
  • 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 standard 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
  • 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

Determining how much to borrow

Disbursements for federal loans are made in equal installments over the semesters within an academic year. 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. Therefore, it is important for you to calculate the total amount you will need to borrow for the year when applying for your loan.

If you need assistance calculating the amount you need to cover your tuition bills for the year, please use our Graduate Planning Worksheets and/or contact your assigned financial aid counselor.

Also, keep in mind that you will need to account for the origination fee. To do this, you will need to divide the amount you want to receive (net) by 1 minus the origination fee for the aid year. For example:

Divide the amount you want to net by (1 - origination fee):
$15,000
÷ (1 - 0.04236)
Amount to borrow: $15,664

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 your 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 your 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 your 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 are denied a PLUS Loan you will have these 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).

Canceling Your Federal Student Loan

Direct Loan funds that are returned within 120 days of the disbursement by the school or the borrower, for any reason, are treated as a partial or full cancellation, with the appropriate adjustment of the loan fee and interest.

If the loan has not yet disbursed to your student account:

If the loan has already disbursed to your student account and it is within 120 days since your loan disbursed:

  • If you did not receive a refund from the disbursement, fill out the Loan Adjustment Request form on our website
  • If you did receive a refund from the disbursement, then you are responsible for returning the money directly to your loan servicer
    • Contact the Federal Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979
    • Always use the term "cancellation" or "cancel." to ensure that the interest and fees are removed as well

Private, Credit-Based Loans 

This loan, called an alternative loan, is available through lending agencies such as banks or credit unions. Most of these loans carry a variable interest rate, but there are a few that offer fixed interest rates. While Simmons cannot recommend any particular lender or group of lenders to its students, we do strongly recommend that you compare rates carefully and know what their monthly repayment schedule will be

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

When researching your options, don't be afraid to contact the lender directly. They will be able to answer questions you may have on the terms and conditions of the loan(s). However, make sure that you do not apply for your loan until you are ready! Each time you apply for a loan, your credit is checked. If the lender is not able to provide an estimated interest rate without processing your credit, please make sure that you've narrowed down your loan options to as few as possible before allowing them to run your credit!

Once you have decided which loan you would like to use, please submit your application directly to your chosen lender. After you are approved, the lending agency will electronically notify Simmons of your approval and request the loan's certification. It generally takes about a week, but once Simmons has certified the loan you will be able to see it pending on your next award letter and bill.