Loan Programs and Other Opportunities

See below for internal and external funding opportunities. Learn if you're eligible for financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). 

Parent Loans

Parent PLUS loans are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible borrowers through our participation in the Direct Loan Program. Borrowers must apply and qualify for the PLUS loan annually.

 

Graduate Plus Loan

Graduate PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional students can use to help pay education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible graduate or professional students through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program. Students must apply and qualify for the graduate PLUS loan each academic year.

 

Loan Details

Information for 2022-23

  • The borrower is the parent.
  • A co-signer is not required; however, a co‐signer could be used in the event the main borrower’s application is denied.
  • Interest Type: Variable fixed, meaning borrowers would receive a new rate with each new loan, but then that rate would be fixed for the life of the loan.  Interest is capped at 10.5%.
  • Current Interest Rate: 7.54% for 22-23.
  • Fees: 4.228% origination fee (deducted from the total amount borrowed). 
  • Repayment is immediate and begins 30‐60 days after last disbursement is made. Interest‐Only and Deferred payment options may be available; you will need to contact your loan servicer (once assigned) for details. Minimum monthly payment is $50.
  • Loan Term: 10 years.
  • Limits: Up to cost of attendance minus any financial aid received.
  • Required Materials:
  • Additional Details:
    • The PLUS Loan is not need‐based. A review of credit‐worthiness is required in order to receive PLUS funds.
    • You will be asked to choose an amount to borrow that is either;
      (1) Specific – you pick an exact number. This the suggested course of action.
      (2) Max Available – you choose to borrow as much as possible. This includes borrowing against unbilled expenses such as books, travel, and personal allowances.
      (3) Unknown – if you do not know how much to borrow, contact our office and we can help you decide what is right for you and your student.
    • The amount that you choose is a NET amount, meaning the actual loan balance will be higher to accommodate the origination fee.

Application Instructions

In order to utilize the Federal PLUS loan program, a new application is required each academic year.

We encourage you to submit your application by August 1, in order for the loan to be disbursed toward the student's fall semester charges. Please note that you cannot apply for a PLUS loan prior to June 1st

If you are applying for financial aid, you should not submit your loan application until you have received a financial aid decision and can determine how much you will need to borrow.

For New Direct PLUS Borrowers:

  1. Create an FSA Account online. You will need an FSA username/ID and password to log into the application portal. Account creation takes about 5 minutes to complete and is required to be able to log in to the site.
  2. Complete the PLUS Application at studentaid.gov.  Students are required to have a completed FAFSA on file before a PLUS application can be reviewed.  Please be sure you (or you student if you are a parent borrower) have completed your FAFSA for the appropriate aid year.
  3. Complete the on-line Master Promissory Note and PLUS Loan Application. In order for us to process your new loan, the borrower information must match exactly the information that was submitted on your original Master Promissory Note. Please note: you must select Howard University (school code 001448) when completing the online PLUS application.

For Returning PLUS Borrowers:

  1. Complete the PLUS Application at studentaid.gov.  Students are required to have a completed FAFSA on file before a PLUS application can be reviewed.  Please be sure you (or you student if you are a parent borrower) have completed your FAFSA for the appropriate aid year.
  2. Complete the on-line PLUS Loan Application.  In order for us to process your new loan, the borrower information must match exactly the information that was submitted on your original Master Promissory Note. If your address has changed since the last time you applied, please complete a new Master Promissory Note. Please note: you must select “Howard University”, school code G01448, when completing the online PLUS application.

Please note the Federal PLUS Loan program carries a loan origination fee of 4.228% which is charged by the US Department of Education and withheld from the approved loan amount. For example: if you request a loan of $10,000, the Department of Education will charge $422 and only $9,578 will be disbursed to the student's account. Please contact our office with any questions.

What If I'm Denied?

In the event the borrower is denied the PLUS loan, they will have the option to either;
(1) appeal the decision, or
(2) Obtain an endorser (cosigner), or
(3) No action - still becomes eligible for additional unsubsidized direct loans.

If you choose to appeal the decision the process begins online at https://studentaid.gov/appeal-credit where you will be asked to document your extenuating circumstances. Appeals can take up to two weeks to process so make sure to plan accordingly. If approved, you will be notified by Federal Student Aid and our office will receive notification next day. You MUST also complete online PLUS Credit Counseling.

If you choose to obtain an endorser (co-signer) you will follow the same general process as above by documenting your extenuating circumstances at https://studentaid.gov/appeal-credit. If approved, you will need a credit-worthy co-signer and have them complete both a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Co-Endorser addendum.

PLEASE NOTE: When applying with a co‐signer, your co‐signer will need to request the amount of loan they are approving on their addendum.  A Co‐Endorser addendum is only approved once, meaning incorrect information will have to be discarded and the process will start all over. You MUST also complete online PLUS Credit Counseling and a new PLUS MPN.

If you are denied for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan and take no further action, the student will be offered additional unsubsidized direct loans ($4,000 for freshmen and sophomores; $5,000 for juniors and above).

Private Loans

We encourage parents and students to look into Federal Direct loan options before borrowing a private educational loan. Most private education loans have the student as the primary borrower and a parent as a co-borrower.

If you are considering a private education loan, you should compare the loan products offered by several lenders in order to choose the best fit for your situation. Once your credit is run for an educational loan, you have up to 30 days to 'shop' around to different private lenders' interest rates without any additional impact on your credit score.

You can learn about and compare private loan terms from multiple lenders side-by-side using the ELM Select online tool, which provides information on the loan programs most frequently used by Howard students over the past three years.

Private loans are certified once a student has enrolled in the requested semester. Please check with your private lender to ensure you meet the minimum requirements for their private loan application - such as minimum credit hour requirements. The Office of Financial Aid will reject your private loan if the loan exceeds your Cost of Attendance.

How To Choose A Private Loan Vendor

All lenders are not alike. In addition to banks, some educational associations, state education agencies, and other organizations offer student and parent loans for school. Each of these lenders may offer special discounts or services to a student based on the state they live in, the credit rating of the applicant, or even their grade level.

It is important to research and choose the lender that is right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure you take the time to compare what each lender has to offer before making a decision.

As a general rule, students should only consider obtaining a private education loan if they have maxed out their Federal loan options. Parent borrowers should also compare costs with the Federal PLUS loan. The PLUS loan is a federal parent loan and usually has better repayment terms than most private loans.

The fees charged by some lenders can significantly increase the cost of the loan. A loan with a relatively low interest rate but high fees can ultimately cost more than a loan with a higher interest rate and no fees. A good rule of thumb is that 3% to 4% in fees is about the same as a 1% higher interest rate. Lenders rarely give complete details of the terms of the private student loan before the student submits an application, in part because this helps prevent comparisons based on cost.

What Should I Ask A Potential Lender?

Here are several points you should research if considering a private loan:

  • What is the interest rate; is it fixed or variable; is the rate capped?
  • What fees must be paid for this loan?
  • When does repayment begin and is there a grace period?
  • What will my monthly payment be?
  • What is the total cost if I use the full repayment period?
  • Are there penalties for early repayment?
  • Are there deferment or forbearance options?
  • Is the loan program well-established?

Where Can I Start?

There are many different private loan search engines and resources available. Some states have programs for residents so you may want to see if your home state has an education lending authority. Regardless of where you start, always get multiple offers before committing to a specific lender.

The Master Promissory Note

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is the legally binding contract that sets the terms and conditions for the loan you are borrowing. An MPN is required for each loan program. MPNs can be used multiple times over a maximum of ten years, meaning you don’t have to sign a new one every year.

Alternatives to Borrowing

  • Outside Awards can help reduce your need for loans. 
  • Term-time work and summer employment can also reduce the need to borrow.
  • Payment Plans can lessen the burden of a term bill balance by stretching it out over time.
  • Savings accounts are great for any student. If you already have a job, set aside money each month for education expenses.

Scholarship and Funding Opportunities

Use this list to find financial support relative to your classification or level of individual need.