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Image of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form

Financial Aid Loans

To be eligible for federal loans, you must:

  1. be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident;
  2. be enrolled at least half-time;
  3. show financial need on your FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA need analysis report;
  4. not have defaulted on or owe a refund to any previous aid program;
  5. maintain satisfactory academic progress

Federal Direct Stafford Loans 

The Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program is divided into two types of loans:  Subsidized Stafford Loans and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.

Subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based, federally subsidized, low-interest loans which have repayment deferred until after you graduate, withdraw, or enroll less than half-time. Interest is paid by the federal government while you are enrolled at least half-time and during the 6-month grace period.

For undergraduate students, the interest rate is 3.76% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are non-need-based loans for students who do not qualify for a Subsidized Stafford Loan or who have borrowed the maximum amount of Subsidized Stafford Loan available to them. The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan has a fixed interest rate of 3.76% for undergraduate students and a 5.31% rate for graduate students for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The Stafford loan charges a loan origination fee of 1.069%, deducted from each disbursement.

The federal government does not pay the interest that is accruing on the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan while you are in school.  You must pay all interest that accrues while you are in school, during the 6-month grace period, and during any periods of authorized deferment. You will have the following options: (1) making monthly or quarterly payments to the federal loan servicer, or (2) you may defer payment on the interest until you begin your repayment of the principal amount (capitalizing). The disadvantage of capitalizing interest is that you pay more interest over the life of the loan because you are also paying interest on the accrued interest.

Federal Student Aid subsidized and unsubsidized loans website

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Limits

    Maximum Subsidized Amount Maximum Unsubsidized Amount Combination Total
Dependent Undergraduates (excluding students whose parents are unable to borrow PLUS) First Year $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
Second Year $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Third Year and Beyond  $5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Aggregate Loan Limits $23,000 $8,500 $31,000
         
Independent Undergraduates and Dependent Undergraduates whose parents are unable to borrow PLUS First Year  

$3,500

 $6,000  $9,500
Second Year  $4,500  $6,000  $10,500
Third Year and Beyond  $5,500   $7,000  $12,500
Aggregate Loan Limits  $23,000  $34,500  $57,500
         
 Graduate/Professional Students Yearly   $20,500  
  Aggregate Loan Limits    $138,500  

 

For students in the College of Pharmacy or students in the College of Health Professions seeking a Master in Health Administration (MHA) or Doctorate in Health Administration (DHA), the yearly limits are as follows:

Academic Year Length Maximum Unsubsidized amount per Academic Year  Additional Unsubsidized Amount per Academic Year  Combination Total
9 Months $20, 500  $12,500 $33,000
10 Months  $20, 500   $13,889  $34,389
 11 Months  $20, 500   $15,278  $35,778
 12 Months  $20, 500   $16,667  $37,167

For students in the College of Medicine or the College of Dental Medicine, the yearly limits are as follows:

 Academic Year Length Maximum Unsubsidized amount per Academic Year  Additional Unsubsidized Amount per Academic Year  Combination Total 
 10 Months  $20,500  $22,222  $42,722
  11 Months  $20,500  $24,444  $44,944
 12 Months  $20,500  $26,667  $47,167

*Note:  The aggregate limit for the MHA, DHA, COP, COM, and CODM programs is $224,000.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Parents of dependent, undergraduate students may take out loans to supplement their children's aid packages. The Federal Direct Parent Loan lets parents borrow money to cover any costs not already covered by the student's financial aid package, up to the full cost of attendance. There is no cumulative limit.

Parent PLUS Loans are the financial responsibility of the parents, not the student. If the student agrees to make payments on the Parent PLUS Loan, but fails to make the payments on time, the parents will be held responsible.

The Parent PLUS Loan has a fixed interest rate of 6.31% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The interest is not subsidized while the student is in school. The Parent PLUS Loan charges a loan origination fee of 4.276% deducted from each disbursement.

Repayment begins 60 days after the funds are fully disbursed, and the repayment term is up to 10 years. There is no six-month grace period as there is with the Stafford Loan program. However, the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 (PL 110-227) added the option for parents to defer payments on the Parent PLUS Loan while the undergraduate student on whose behalf they borrowed the Parent PLUS Loan is in-school and for a six-month grace period after the student graduates or drops below full-time enrollment. This change is effective for Parent PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008. (Payments can also be deferred if the parents are themselves enrolled in college. They will need to submit an application for an in-school deferment.) Note that since the interest on the Parent PLUS Loan is not subsidized, it continues to accrue while deferred and is capitalized when the loan enters repayment.

Eligibility for the Parent PLUS Loan depends on a credit check that determines whether the parent has an adverse credit history.

If a dependent student's parents are denied a Parent PLUS Loan, or the college financial aid administrator determines that the parents are likely to be denied a Parent PLUS Loan, the student becomes eligible for increased unsubsidized Stafford Loan limits. Only one parent needs to apply for and be denied a Parent PLUS Loan. However, if one parent is denied a Parent PLUS Loan and the other is approved for a Parent PLUS Loan, the student is not eligible for increased Stafford Loan limits.

Federal Student Aid Direct Loan website

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Starting on July 1, 2006, graduate and professional students became eligible to borrow money through the Graduate PLUS Loan program to pay for their own education.

The Graduate PLUS Loan will not reduce eligibility for the Stafford Loan, but the Graduate PLUS Loan limit will take the amount borrowed under the Stafford Loan into account. The Graduate PLUS Loan is limited to cost of attendance minus aid received, as certified by the school.  The Graduate PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan and has a fixed interest rate of 6.31% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The Grad PLUS loan charges a loan origination fee of 4.276%, deducted from each disbursement. PLUS loans do not have a grace period. Students are eligible for deferment while enrolled at least half-time. They are also eligible for an automatic six month post-enrollment deferment after graduation. Interest will continue to accrue during these periods. 

Federal Student Aid Direct Loan website

Summary of Federal Loans

Loan Name

Fixed Interest Rate for loans disbursed from
July 1, 2018 –June 30, 2019

Fixed Interest Rate for loans disbursed from
July 1, 2019 –June 30, 2020

Repayment

Cosigner or Endorser Needed?

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

5.05% for Undergraduates

4.529% for Undergraduates

Begins 6 months after you graduate or enroll for less than half-time

No.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

5.05% for Undergraduates

6.595% for graduates

4.529% for Undergraduates

6.079% for graduates

Begins 6 months after you graduate or enroll for less than half-time

No.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

7.595%

7.079%

Begins 60 days after disbursement of funds (qualifies for in-school deferment)

Dependent upon credit decision.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

7.595%

7.079%

Begins 60 days after disbursement of funds (qualifies for in-school deferment)

Dependent upon credit decision.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Loan Programs

Note:  Entrance Counseling is required for all HHS Loans.

Loans for Disadvantaged Students Website

College of Dental Medicine

Loans for Disadvantaged students are federal low interest loans regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Students must meet “disadvantaged background” criteria and have financial need. A signed Master Promissory Note is required prior to disbursement of funds.

Interest Rate: 5%
Grace Period: 12 months grace period.
Credit Policy: Non-credit based loan.
Special Requirements: Parental data required on the FAFSA or using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool; signed copy of parents’ IRS tax return transcript.

College of Nursing

The Nursing Student Loan Program is a federal loan program offered through the Department of Health and Human Services which is available to at least half-time nursing students with demonstrated financial need. A signed Master Promissory Note is required prior to disbursement of funds.

Interest Rate: 5%
Grace Period: 9 months grace period.
Credit Policy: Non-credit based loan.

Nursing Student Loan Program website

College of Dental Medicine, College of Pharmacy

The Health Professions Loan Program offers federal loans regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services. This loan program offers low interest loans to full-time students needing financial assistance to become a dentist or pharmacist. A signed Master Promissory Note is required prior to disbursement of funds.

Interest Rate: 5%
Grace Period: 12 months
Credit Policy: Non-credit based loan.
Special Requirements: Parental data required on the FAFSA or using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool; signed copy of parents’ IRS tax return transcript.

Health Professions Student Loans website

Federal Perkins Loan

The Perkins Loan program expired September 30, 2017 and regulations do not permit schools to make Perkins Loan awards to students.  Formerly, awards were based on Exceptional Financial Need as determined by FAFSA and availability of funds.  Maximum annual awards were $8,000 for Graduate Students and $5,500 for Undergraduate Students. Perkins Loan aggregate limits for Graduate Students are $60,000 and $27,500 for Undergraduate Students. The Interest rate is fixed at five (5) percent. Interest does not accrue on these loans while the borrower is enrolled at least half time. The Grace Period for the Perkins loan is 9 months. Repayment begins nine months after the borrower graduates or falls below half-time status.

The loan servicer for Perkins Loans is Heartland ECSI, which provides all repayment, deferment, and loan cancellation services. Cancellation for Perkins loans is available for Full Time Nurses and Medical Technicians ( OT, PT, etc.) incrementally over a five-year period.

Note: A student will lose their cancellation benefit if they consolidate a Federal Perkins Loan into a Direct Loan Consolidation.

Private and Alternative Education Loans

Private and Alternative Education Loans help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the limited amount the government allows you to borrow in its programs. Private loans are offered by private lenders and there are no federal forms to complete. Eligibility for private student loans often depends on your credit score.

The interest rates and fees you pay on a private student loan are based on your credit score and the credit score of your cosigner, if any.  It is better to apply for a private student loan with a cosigner even if you could qualify for the loan on your own. Just applying with a cosigner usually results in a slightly lower rate, as such loans are not as risky for the lender. Moreover, the interest rates and fees are usually based on the higher of the two credit scores. If your cosigner has a better credit score than you, it could result in a lower interest rate.

Credit checks performed by lenders typically expire after 90-120 days. Therefore, students should not apply for private loans more than 3 months prior to the start of their academic term.

Suggested timeframes for application are:

  • June 1st for Fall term
  • October 1st for Spring term
  • February 1st for Summer term

Residency and Relocation Loans

Medicine, Dental Medicine and Pharmacy students in their fourth-year or students that have graduated within the past 12 months of these programs may apply for additional loans for Residency Interviews and Relocation through the lender of their choice. 

Residency and Relocation loans are private loans which typically have higher interest rates and may cost you more than other loans. These loans may cover expenses such as:

  • Interview Travel and lodging
  • Residency Application Fees
  • Board exam review courses and fees
  • Board review textbooks and study guides
  • Medical Instruments
  • Internship expenses
  • Moving and shipping costs from Charleston to relocate to Residency location.

Residency and Relocation loans do not count toward the Cost of Attendance (COA), when calculating a student’s budget and are not certified by the financial aid office.  However, the lender will require enrollment verification from the Registrar’s office.  

MUSC Students applied and/or borrowed Residency and Relocation loans from the following lenders during the past 5 academic school years (2014-2019). This information is provided to assist you as you begin evaluating your lender options, and does NOT represent all possible lenders. This list is in alphabetical order. No preference should be inferred from the alphabetical sort order of the lenders listed.

Discover

PNC Bank

Sallie Mae

Wells Fargo