Clarke participates in the Federal Stafford student loan program. This program allows students to borrow funds to assist them to meet costs for tuition, fees, room, board and books. To be eligible for a Stafford loan, the student must file the FAFSA form (www.fafsa.ed.gov) to have a federal need analysis completed. Once the results are received from filing this form, the student will be advised of their eligibility for a student loan via their award letter.
Stafford Loan Types and Terms
- Subsidized Stafford Loans - Need-based loans where the federal government will pay the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled as at least a half-time student.
- Unsubsidized Stafford Loans - Convenience loans where the interest is not paid by the government. The student must pay the interest on this loan while enrolled or the interest will be capitalized, meaning that the accrued interest will be added to the principal (original amount of loan) to be repaid later.
Terms of Both Stafford loans hold a deferment (in which you are not required to make payments on the loan) as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program. Both Stafford loan programs also have a 6-month grace period in which repayment is not required. This 6-month grace period begins once a student graduates, withdraws from college, or ceases to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
Students must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to obtain this loan. This promissory note will be mailed to the student if this is their first loan at Clarke. This will be a serial note so that the student will only complete one promissory note for their entire enrollment at Clarke. On the Master Promissory Note, the student will need to select a lender through which they would like their loan to disburse. To complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) go to: www.studentloans.gov. Students must also complete Entrance Counseling prior to receiving their first loan at Clarke. All students will be required to enter the following website to complete this requirement: www.studentloans.gov. Loans will not be processed until the MPN and Entrance Counseling is completed. Clarke will receive a confirmation once the entrance counseling and MPN is completed.
Stafford Loan Limits
Yearly Stafford loan limits on loans disbursed after July 1, 2007 are as follows: Freshmen (0-29 credits) $5,500; sophomore (30-59 credits) $6,500; junior and senior (60+ credits) $7,500; graduates $20,500 Unsubsidized. Additional funds are available to independent on the unsubsidized Stafford loan program. It is possible that enough cumulative credit hours are completed to move you to the next grade level after the summer or fall term. Since financial aid award letters are sent out during the spring or summer before the actual award year, the financial aid office will estimate your grade level progression and notify you with the following notice if we expect you to progress in mid-year: Stafford loan Grade Level Progression Notice.
There are also cumulative borrowing limits in the Stafford loan program. If you are nearing your borrowing limit in the Federal Stafford loan program, you should receive the following notice: Cumulative Loan Limit Nofication.
Loan Exit Counseling
All students with Federal Stafford loans, subsidized or unsubsidized, must complete exit loan counseling when they graduate or leave Clarke. We recommend that this counseling be completed on-line at: www.studentloans.gov. If you do not do this on-line, you can complete the form mailed to you by Clarke or you can call Clarke to have the counseling completed in person. It is important that you understand your rights and responsibilities related to your Stafford loans as you leave Clarke.
Student Loan Ombudsperson
The federal government has established the office of student loan ombudsperson to assist students with questions or problems related to the terms of their Federal Stafford loan. This individual will help to resolve loan frustrations that the students cannot solve on their own. The phone number is: 1-877-557-2575 or on-line at: http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov.
It is important to keep an accurate record of your borrowing. Do not borrow more money than you NEED. You should think about how much you can afford to borrow. Generally, your monthly student loan payment should not be more than 15% of your gross monthly salary once you leave college. Be responsible: repayments generally begin six months after you leave college. There are three repayment plans to choose from – standard, graduated or income-sensitive. These plans can be reviewed with your lender or loan servicer. In some cases, you may want to explore loan consolidation if you have federal loans from more than one lender or different types of federal loans. No matter what your circumstances are, you want to maintain good communication with your lender or loan servicer. You want to avoid falling behind on your loan repayments or going into default which will raise serious credit problems for you.
For loan repayment calculators, click here.