Federal Student Loan Options for Graduate/Professional Students

Federal Direct Loans

How do I apply for this loan and am I eligible?
Your eligibility is determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA. Please note that students must meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for these loans.

If you have received a financial aid notification letter from our office and a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan has already been awarded to you, and you are a first-time borrower, you may proceed to the U.S. Department of Education's website, www.studentloans.gov, to complete the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. You will need your FAFSA Pin Number in order to login to the website.

How much can I borrow?
You can borrow up to $20,500 in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan for the academic year.  You are responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it is repaid in full. You can choose to pay the interest while you are in school or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount you will have to repay over the life of the loan.

Aggregate borrowing limits are $138,500 for graduate or professional students. The graduate debt limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

What is the interest rate and what fees are charged for these loans?

The interest rate for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans is the rate of the 10-year Treasury note plus 3.6%.  The rate for new loans for the 2013-2014 academic year is 5.41 percent.  The loan is "variable-fixed" meaning students would receive a new rate with each new loan, but the rate would be fixed for the life of that loan.  Please check our News Page for changes to the terms of loans disbursed after March 1, 2013.

When do I begin repaying the loan?

Repayment of Federal Direct Loans plus any accumulated interest begins six months (called the grace period) after you drop below half-time enrollment status.  Normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason.

Federal Perkins Loans

How do I apply for this loan and am I eligible?
SUNY Potsdam receives an allocation from the federal government and funds are distributed based on eligibility for federal need-based aid. Availability is not guaranteed. Only those students who demonstrate an exceptional level of federal eligibility are eligible to receive this loan.  If you are awarded this loan, and this is your first time receiving a Federal Perkins Loan borrower through a SUNY campus, you will need to complete the Perkins Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note here.

How much can I borrow?
You can borrow up to $8,000 for each year of graduate/professional study. The actual amount you may receive depends on your level of exceptional federal eligibility and the level/availability of Perkins Loan funds.

What is the interest rate and what fees are charged for this loan?
The interest rate is fixed at 5%. There are no other fees for this loan, and interest on the loan does not begin to accrue until the loan enters repayment.

When do I begin repaying the loan?
Repayment begins nine months (called the grace period) after you drop below half-time enrollment status (normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason).

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

How do I apply for this loan?

The Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students are only available for students working toward their Master's or other Professional Degree. You must meet federal eligibility requirements to qualify for these loans, and will be required to pass a credit check.

You may contact our office at finaid@potsdam.edu if you need further details or if you are interested in these loans and they are not part of your financial aid award package.

To apply:

  • Log in at www.studentloans.gov and select the option "Request a Direct PLUS Loan." A credit decision is provided immediately upon submission of the application.
  • Next, you must complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) AND Entrance Counseling for the Graduate PLUS Loan on the same website. Be sure that you select the MPN option for the Graduate PLUS Loan.
  • The loan application, credit decision, and Master Promissory Note are sent to SUNY Potsdam electronically.

If your credit decision is denied, there are two options:

  1. You may request a "credit appeal." A package of additional information will be automatically sent from Direct Lending. You will work with the Direct Loan to pursue this option.
  2. Provide an endorser: The endorser must pass a credit check and sign a promissory note. An e-mail with the Loan Reference ID and an endorser packet will be mailed. The endorser will need the Loan Reference ID to complete the paper packet or complete the Endorser Addendum online. The endorser must create a Federal PIN to sign in and go to "Endorse a PLUS Loan."

How much can I borrow?
The yearly limit on a PLUS Loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you (the student) receive. If your cost of attendance is $24,500, for example, and you receive $20,500 in other financial aid, you can borrow up to an additional $4,000.

What are the interest rate and fees for this loan?
The interest rate is the rate of the 10-year Treasury note plus 4.6%. The rate for new loans for the 2013-2014 academic year is 6.41 percent. The loan is "variable-fixed" meaning students would receive a new rate with each new loan, but the rate would be fixed for the life of that loan. Please check our News Page for changes to the terms of loans disbursed after March 1, 2013.

When do I begin repaying the loan?

Repayment of the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans plus all accumulated interest begins six months after you drop below half-time enrollment status.  Normally, this occurs when you graduate or if you leave school for some other reason.