Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
You may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year (Fall through Summer) in Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, with a lifetime limit of $138,500 (subsidized and unsubsidized). The interest rate for these loans, as of July 1, 2014, is 6.21 percent annually, and a 1.072 percent origination fee (1.073 perecent beginning October 1, 2014) is deducted at disbursement. As of July 1, 2012, there are no longer any Federal Direct Subsidized loans available to graduate or law students: as soon as your loan is disbursed, interest begins to accrue.
After you drop below half-time status, these loans have a six-month grace period before repayment begins. A Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan has forbearance and deferment options, may be consolidated, may be paid back under several different repayment plans, and may be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Graduate PLUS Loans
If you do not have adverse credit, you may secure the additional amount of aid for which you are eligible by applying for a Graduate PLUS loan. See http://studentloans.gov for an application. A Graduate PLUS loan is federally guaranteed, and interest accrues while you are in school. The interest rate is fixed at 7.21 percent, as of July 1, 2014 and a 4.288 percent origination fee is deducted from the disbursement (4.292 percent beginning October 1, 2014).
After you drop below half-time status, you must immediately begin paying back these loans. A Graduate PLUS loan has forbearance and deferment options, may be consolidated, may be paid back under several different repayment plans, and may be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
If your application for a Graduate PLUS loan is denied, you have several options for reapplication, including obtaining the signature of a cosigner.
College Access Loans
If you are a Texas resident, you may also choose to secure the additional amount of aid for which you are eligible by applying for College Access loans, funded by the State of Texas. Click here to apply or for more information. Residency requirements can be viewed here.
You or a cosigner must have favorable credit, must not have public records such as tax liens or bankruptcy proceedings, must have a minimum of 5 credit trade lines, and must not have defaulted on any federal or private education loans. The origination fee is based upon the higher credit score of you and your cosigner. If you or your cosigner has a credit score of 711 or higher, there is no origination fee. If you or your cosigner has a credit score between 651 and 710, there is a 3 percent origination fee. If you or your cosigner has a credit score between 591 and 650, there is a 5 percent origination fee. The interest rate is fixed at 5.25 percent. You may not take out these loans if you have not already used your Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan eligibility.
You have a six-month grace period after you drop below half-time status before you must start paying back your loans. These loans may not be consolidated and may not be forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but they do have several repayment options.
Private Alternative Loans
Some private lenders offer loans. However, we strongly advise you to check on repayment plans and interest rates, and please note that these loans probably have credit requirements and are not eligible for consolidation, income-based repayment, or federal loan forgiveness programs.