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Grants and Loans

 

PHEAA Updates

  • Effective March 19, 2020, the PHEAA Board of Directors authorized the Agency to temporarily modify, suspend, or relax certain program requirements for Pennsylvania schools and students enrolled in the 2020 winter or spring term.

    This includes the temporary waiver of the PA State Grant Program’s eligibility distinction between traditional in-classroom students, who currently qualify for a $4,123 maximum award, and distance education students, who currently qualify for a $3,092 maximum award, or 75 percent of a traditional award.

  • In order to give students and families more flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, PHEAA’s Board of Directors also acted today to extend the May 1 PA State Grant application deadline by 2 weeks to May 15.

    This deadline applies to all renewal applicants and first-time applicants who plan to enroll in colleges, universities, or a college transfer program at 2-year public or private colleges (except community colleges and designated Pennsylvania Open Admission institutions).

 


Because grants and scholarships are limited, many students must rely on loans to cover at least some portion of college costs. Undergraduate and graduate students as well as parents of undergraduate students may borrow money for education. In fact, approximately 80% of Pitt-Bradford’s aid recipients borrow educational loans.

The following steps represent borrowing options beginning with the best value and proceeding to other, less favorable loan options based on interest rates, loan terms and conditions, and repayment options. These loan options may be used alone or in combination with each other. Select the loan links below for more information about each option.

GRANTS

The first step in applying for a grant is to fill out your FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Federal Pell Grants
Eligible students are awarded grants from the federal government in amounts between $657 and $6,195 (2019-20). 

Pitt Success Pell Match
The Pitt Success Pell Match Program will maximize the power of this federal program by matching it dollar for dollar. This University-wide program is available to eligible undergraduate students.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
You may be eligible for a federal grant ranging from $200 to $1,000.

State Grants
During the 2019-20 academic year, Pennsylvania state grants ranged from $500 to $3,772. If you're a Pennsylvania resident, the information on your FAFSA will automatically be sent to the American Education Services/Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. AES/PHEAA will determine if you're eligible to receive a state grant. If you have any questions, contact PHEAA at 1-800-692-7392

If you're not from PA, we encourage you to check to see if your state provides grants.

LOANS

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Federal Direct Student Loans are available to eligible students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA on the Web). This federal student aid is made available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program to help pay for educational expenses. The Office of Financial Aid awards a Federal Direct Subsidized or Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan, or a combination of both loans, based on financial need.

The information you report on your FAFSA is used to determine your  Expected Family Contribution (EFC) , which is a calculated formula established by law. Your EFC is not equal to the amount you and your family must pay, but rather an index that allows colleges to determine financial need. To determine your financial need, your EFC is subtracted from your cost of attendance.

Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan
A Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan is awarded based on your demonstrated financial need. The federal government pays interest on a subsidized loan while you are enrolled in school in at least half-time. The interest rate for Federal Direct Subsidized loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020, for undergraduate students will have a fixed interest rate of 2.75%, while in repayment status.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans
A Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student loan is not based on your financial need. The interest rate for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 is fixed at 2.75%. You are not required to pay the interest on this loan while in school, but we recommend that you do. You will be charged interest starting at disbursement until it is paid in full. If the interest accumulates, it will be added to the principal amount of the loan and increase the amount to be repaid.

How much can you borrow through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program? (as of 7/01/2008)
College Credits Earned Base Amount Subsidized or Unsubsidized Additional Unsubsidized Total
0-23 credits $3,500 $2,200 $5,500
24-53 credits $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
54 credits or more $5,500 $2,000 $7,500
Dependent Students with a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Denial and Independent Students (as of 7/01/2008)
College Credits Earned Base Amount Subsidized or Unsubsidized Additional Unsubsidized Total
0-23 credits $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
24-53 credits $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
54 credits or more $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

Please keep in mind that your eligibility for these programs depends on the information you provide on the FAFSA, the program you are in, and the number of credits you have completed.

Generally, you will begin to pay your Federal Direct Student Loans and interest six months after you graduate or you leave the university. However, you may defer paying the loan's principal and interest if you maintain at least half-time enrollment.


Apply for a Federal Direct Student (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) Loan
To apply for a Federal Direct Student loan, you must complete the FAFSA each year. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in a degree program for at least six credits per semester and be maintaining Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. If you are eligible for a Federal Direct Student loan, it will be included on your Financial Aid Notification.

E-sign Your Federal Direct Student (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
If you are a first-time borrower of the Federal Direct Student loan, you will be required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before the loan funds can disburse. In most cases, you will only need to complete one MPN during your college career. E-sign your Federal Direct Student loan MPN on the StudentAid.gov  web site using your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) by selecting Log-In. After you sign in, choose Complete Loan Agreement for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan MPN and click the START button. Follow instructions and answer all questions. Select "Continue" at the bottom of each screen once completed. When complete, you must sign by typing your name and clicking "Sign and Submit."

Note: If you are experiencing technical difficulty signing your MPN online at StudentAid.gov, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's customer service center for borrowers toll free at 800-557-7394. You can request a paper MPN from our office; however, a paper MPN will take four to six weeks to process--more than double the time it takes to process the MPN online --so it is always best to sign the MPN online if possible.

Loan Entrance Counseling
If you are a first-time borrower of the Federal Direct Student loan, you are also required to complete Loan Entrance Counseling before the loan funds can disburse. Complete this required counseling session by selecting "Complete Loan Counseling" and clicking the START button at StudentAid.com web site. The counseling session provides you with information that will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a federal loan borrower, as well as other tools to assist you with managing your loans. 

 **Please note: Entrance Counseling and the e-signature on the MPN are BOTH REQUIRED in order for loans to disburse to the student account.**

Fees
A fee of 1.059% will be deducted from the gross amount of loan disbursed prior to October, 1 2020, so you need to take that into consideration when determining the amount you need to borrow. Loans disbursed after October, 1 2020 will have an origination fee of 1.057%.

Receiving Federal Direct Student Loan Funds
It is important to know that loan funds will automatically credit to your student account if the Direct Loan Processor has a valid MPN on file for you and you have completed loan entrance counseling. After you complete your registration and semester classes begin, your student financial aid will begin to disburse onto your Student account.

Reduce or Decline a Federal Direct Student (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) Loan
If you wish to reduce or cancel your loan(s), please select complete the Loan Change Form.

Repayment
After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six month period of time before you have to begin repayment. This six month period of time is called the "grace period". Your federal loan servicer will provide information about repayment and will notify you of the date your loan repayment begins.

You will be able to choose a repayment plan that meets your needs. The amount you pay and the length of time to repay your loans will vary depending on the repayment plan you choose. Generally, you’ll have from ten to twenty-five years to repay your loans. Our office recommends that you explore the Direct Loan Repayment Plans and Calculators for more information about the repayment plans and to calculate your estimated repayment amount under each of the different plans.

Loan Services
For specific questions about loan repayment or deferment, you can contact your federal loan servicing center directly. If you are not sure who your federal loan servicer is, you can look it up on NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System).


FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA)
Phone: 800/699-2908
TDD/TTY: 800/722-8189
Overseas borrowers: 717-720-1985
Web site: myfedloan.org

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.
Phone: 800/236-4300
TDD/TTY: 800/236-4300
Overseas: 608/246-1700
Web site: mygreatlakes.org

Nelnet

Phone: 888/486-4722
TDD/TTY: 888/486-4722
Overseas: 303/696-3625
Web site: nelnet.com

Navient
Phone: 800/722-1300
Fax: 866/266-0178
International Phone: 317/806-0580
International Fax: 570/706-8563
TDD: 877/713-3833
navient.com

Mohela
Phone: 888/866-4352
Fax: 888/866-4708
633 Spirit Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005

ESA/EDFinancial
298 N. Seven Oaks Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922 

CornerStone - UHEAA
60 South 400 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1284

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The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan with a fixed interest rate of 5.30%, with default and up front origination fees before October, 1 2020 of 4.236% (loans disbursed after October, 1 2020 will have an origination fee of 4.228%). Students must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program, be meeting the Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards (SAP), and have a completed FASFA on file for parents to access a PLUS loan.  The parent borrower must be either a biological or adoptive parent, or step parent.  Parent borrowers and their student must also be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and are not currently in default on Federal aid.  Through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, parents of dependent students may borrow up to the cost of education less any other financial aid received by the student. Repayment does not begin until 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed to the school (for a full-year loan, after the spring portion is disbursed to Pitt-Bradford).   You may indicate on your Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan application that you would like an automatic deferment while your student is attending school and/or a request for a 6 month deferment post enrollment.  For additional information about the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, please visit studentaid.ed.gov

Please be aware, although the studentloans.gov website states you will hear from the school within 24 hours of submitting the application, we are not able to contact you until we receive the information from Federal Loan Servicing. We will process your loan record after it is received from Federal Direct loans. This processing time may take up to two weeks. Once your loan is processed, your student will receive a revised award letter via their Pitt email.

If a parent is denied a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, the student may automatically be considered for an additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Student loan in an amount up to $4,000/year for freshman and sophomores and up to $5,000/year for juniors and seniors.  Borrowers also have the option to either appeal the credit decision with the U.S. Department of Education or get an endorser for the loan by choosing the associated bubble on the results page after submitting your online Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan application at studentloans.gov.

If there is a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan denial and certification of additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Student loan has occurred, the same parent borrower or another parent borrower can later appeal or seek an endorser and be approved. If this is the case, the student’s additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan will be cancelled.

Repayment Options: Additional information regarding repayment can be found at studentloans.gov.

How to Apply: 

1. First, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

2. Then, calculate how much you want to borrow and determine the loan period. The total amount you can borrow is equal to your student's Cost of Attendance minus other Estimated Aid (these figures are listed on your student's Student Aid Summary on Pitt-Pay).

3. Next, calculate the loan fee. Divide the total loan amount by 0.95764 (= 4.236%).
Request $10,442 ($10,000/0.95764 = $10,442) to receive a total of $10,000

4. Initiate a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan application and sign a master promissory note at studentaid.gov(if you have questions when on this site, you can reach a customer service representative at 1-800-557-7394).

  1. Once on studentaid.gov simply click on " Log In" on the left side of the page; A parent must sign in using FSA ID.

                    *Note, do not use the student's FSA ID in this section* 

                    *Also, if you forgot or don't have a FSA ID, you can go to StudentAid.gov/fsaid for more information. 

  1. After the parent signs in, click on "Apply for a Direct PLUS Loan."
  2. Complete the required items then "submit" the PLUS Loan request.
  3. If you are credit approved you will then click on "Home" to return to the studentaid.gov homepage to continue to the next step of the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan process, which is signing a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note.
  4. Click on Parent Borrower box and choose "Complete Loan Agreement for PLUS Loan MPN." 
  5. Click on the START button to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  6. Complete the required items and then "Submit" the Master Promissory Note.
  7. If you have received an adverse credit decision, but are eligible due to documented extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an endorser, you will be required to complete Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Credit Counseling.


Please note that it can take approximately 2-4 weeks for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan to be processed; parents are encouraged to file the application early to allow time for the loan funds to arrive at the school.

Directions for Changing your Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan: If you would like to change your Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, the parent borrower must submit a written request to the Financial Aid Office.  Please be sure to sign the request and include a phone number where the parent borrower can be contacted.  If you would like to increase the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan and it is more than 180 days since the initial credit check was completed, the Parent Borrower will need to complete a new PLUS loan application at StudentAid.gov.

Federal Loan Servicers:  For questions about loan repayment or deferment, a borrower can contact his or her Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan servicing center.  Not sure who your Federal loan servicer is?  Look it up on National Student Loan Database System, nslds.ed.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-4-FED-AID.

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A private alternative loan is a non-federal education loan, through a private lender, typically in the student’s name and requiring a cosigner. Approval and interest rates are based on the creditworthiness of the borrower and cosigner. Each alternative lender has different eligibility requirements, loan rates, terms, and conditions.

Plan Ahead

Recent amendments to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) require that you complete a self-certification form and submit it to your lender for each alternative loan you apply for after February 14, 2010. If your lender does not provide you with the form, visit Fast Choice and print it from the home page. Then access your Financial Aid Summary, log into my.pitt.edu and search for "Student Center" and obtain your cost of attendance and your estimated financial assistance for the period of enrollment covered by the loan. Return the self-certification form to your lender upon completion. Keep in mind that current students will not have access to cost and student aid information on the Financial Aid Summary until after awarding in mid-June.

TILA also requires lenders to provide you with three disclosures: 1) upon your application, 2) when you are approved, and 3) at least 3 days prior to disbursement. Timing of the last disclosure may delay loan disbursements by an additional 1-2 weeks. Please plan accordingly.

Follow Important Guidelines:

  • Apply for your alternative loan within 90 days of the beginning of the semester so your lender’s credit does not expire.
  • Schedule ALL of the courses you plan to take BEFORE you apply for your loan so your loan is certified for the correct amount. Increases may not be possible after the loan is certified.
  • For summer session(s), you must complete a separate loan application, since it is a separate loan term.

An alternative loan is an agreement between the borrower and cosigner and the lender. The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford cannot in any way be held liable in the event the borrower is dissatisfied with the rates, terms, or service provided by any lender, nor is Pitt-Bradford responsible for any damages incurred by the student as a result of the student's choice of lender.

You have the right to select the alternative lender of your choice.

The following is a link to FAST CHOICE, a landing page that offers comparisons of loans, loan counseling, and borrowing options to fit your individual needs. 

                                                                  Valid Loan Term Dates at Pitt-Bradford:
   Fall 2019 only – August 2019 to December 2019, Spring 2020 only – January 2020 to May 2020, Fall 2019/Spring 2020

                                                                    (Full Year) – August 2019 to May 2020

Note to International Students: Many alternative lenders will approve a loan for international students who have a creditworthy US Citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner. If you are an international student, contact the lender of your choice to determine if you are eligible.

If You Are Denied:

If you are denied, you and your cosigner can contact the lender and request an Adverse Action Credit Letter to determine why. You should also request a copy of your credit report to review your credit information.