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Financial Aid/M Center

Student Loans  

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, also referred to as Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, are low-interest loans available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need.  The annual borrowing limit is $3,500 for first year students, $4,500 for sophomores and $5,500 for juniors and seniors. The aggregate borrowing limit for undergraduates is $23,000 and $65,500 for undergraduate/graduate loans combined.  The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan will no longer be available to graduate and professional students for loan periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012. 

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are not credit-based, and the funds come directly from the federal government rather than from a bank or other financial institution. The loan is disbursed in two separate payments, and the second disbursement can be made no earlier than the midpoint of the loan period i.e., if a student is attending fall and spring, one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring. The Federal Direct Stafford Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 1.072%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change.

This loan program has a deferment provision so that no repayment of the loan is required while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible post-secondary institution. As long as a student demonstrates "financial need" for a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan which the College must determine using Federal Methodology, the loan is "subsidized" by the federal government; this means that the federal government will pay the in-school interest which accrues on this loan as long as the borrower is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Repayment begins six months after the borrower graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is fixed at 3.86%. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. 

In late May, new students who have been awarded a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan will receive additional information regarding requirements for receipt of the loan funds. “First-time” Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan borrowers at Mills must complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov.  Entrance Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding student loans such as borrower rights and responsibilities, interest rates, repayment options, consequences of default, etc. so that they can make informed decisions regarding borrowing. Students must also complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.

All continuing students who plan to apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan must complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov if they have not previously borrowed through the Federal Direct Loan program for their attendance at Mills.

Loan processing takes two to four weeks depending on the time of year. Students who will be using the proceeds of their student loan(s) to pay their college bill must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements by July 1 for the fall semester and by December 15 for the spring semester. Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan funds for students who applied by the deadline are typically available to be posted to student accounts within the first 30 days of classes for each semester. Students who decide to borrow through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program after initially declining their loans must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester.

Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete Exit Loan Counseling. Exit Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding their loans, including estimated repayment schedules, repayment and deferment options, information on consolidation, etc.

For more information regarding Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, including repayment plans and estimated monthly payment amounts, please refer to the federal publication "Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt" at: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/repaying_loans/index.html

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, also referred to as Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, are available to undergraduate students who do not qualify for the Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, to undergraduate students who want an additional loan to supplement the Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, and to graduate and professional students.  The borrower must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. A student does not have to demonstrate financial need for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan except to the extent that total financial aid (including the unsubsidized loan) cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance for the given academic year.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are not credit-based, and the funds come directly from the federal government rather than from a bank or other financial institution. Unlike a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, interest is charged throughout the life of the loan. The borrower is responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The borrower may choose to pay the interest charged on the loan or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (added to the loan principal) when the loan enters repayment. Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount the borrower must repay.

The loan is disbursed in two separate payments, and the second disbursement can be made no earlier than the midpoint of the loan period i.e., if a student is attending fall and spring, one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring. The Federal Direct Stafford Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 1.072%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change. No repayment of the principal is required when the student is in school at least half-time, or during grace or deferment periods, and regular monthly payments begin six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time. For undergraduate students, the interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is fixed at 3.86%.  For graduate students, the interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is 5.41%. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. Undergraduate annual borrowing limits for this program, including any Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts, are as follows:

     Dependent first year students $ 5,500

     Dependent sophomores $ 6,500

     Dependent juniors and seniors $ 7,500

     Independent first year students $ 9,500

     Independent sophomores $ 10,500

     Independent juniors and seniors $ 12,500

The annual borrowing limit for graduate students is $20,500.

The aggregate borrowing limit is $31,000 for dependent undergraduates (including Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts) and $57,500 for independent undergraduates (including Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts). The aggregate borrowing limit for graduate students is $138,500 (including Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts). 

In late May, new students who have been awarded a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan will receive additional information regarding requirements for receipt of the loan funds. “First-time” Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan borrowers at Mills must complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov.  Entrance Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding student loans such as borrower rights and responsibilities, interest rates, repayment options, consequences of default, etc. so that they can make informed decisions regarding borrowing. Students must also complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.

All continuing students who plan to apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan must complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov if they have not previously borrowed through the Federal Direct Loan program for their attendance at Mills.   

Loan processing takes two to four weeks depending on the time of year. Students who will be using the proceeds of their student loan(s) to pay their college bill must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements by July 1 for the fall semester and by December 15 for the spring semester. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan funds for students who applied by the deadline are typically available to be posted to student accounts within the first 30 days of classes for each semester. Students who decide to borrow through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program after initially declining their loans must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester.

Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete Exit Loan Counseling. Exit Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding their loans, including estimated repayment schedules, repayment and deferment options, information on consolidation, etc.

For more information regarding Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, including repayment plans and estimated monthly payment amounts, please refer to the federal publication "Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt" at: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/repaying_loans/index.html

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Federal Direct PLUS Loan)

Federal Direct PLUS Loans are available to parent borrowers who have “no adverse credit history.” The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution. Parents may borrow up to the estimated cost of attendance, as indicated on the student’s financial aid award letter, minus other financial aid. The Federal Direct PLUS Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 4.288%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change. For Federal Direct PLUS Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014, the interest rate is fixed at 6.41%, and interest is charged on the PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. The loan is disbursed in at least two installments, i.e. one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring, and no installment will be greater than half of the loan amount.

To be eligible to borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, the parent must meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid. For example, the Federal Direct PLUS Loan applicant must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, must not be in default on a federal student loan, and must not owe a refund on a federal education grant, etc. The student must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree program and must be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. A credit check will be conducted, and a parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history. Parents who do not pass the credit check may still be able to obtain a Federal Direct PLUS Loan if they are able to obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is an individual who agrees to repay the loan if the borrower fails to do so. In some cases, a parent may also be able to obtain a Federal Direct PLUS Loan if they are able to document to the Department’s satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances related to the adverse credit history.

Parents who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program must complete the PLUS Application Process and a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note at www.studentloans.gov. They must also submit to the M Center at Mills a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Request Statement. The student and her parent must also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). General information about the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program, including repayment schedules and estimated montly payment amounts, also is available at www.studentloans.gov and in the federal publication "Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt" at: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/repaying_loans/index.html

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Students enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program may also apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan after Mills has determined the maximum eligibility for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.  The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution. Students may borrow up to the estimated cost of attendance, as indicated on the student’s financial aid award letter, minus other financial aid. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 4.288%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change. For Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014, the interest rate is fixed at 6.41%, and interest is charged on the Graduate PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. The loan is disbursed in at least two installments, i.e. one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring, and no installment will be greater than half of the loan amount.  Repayment begins within 60 days of the last disbursement.  However, students may defer repayment while they are enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school.  To be eligible, students must have "no adverse credit history" as determined by a credit check. 

Students who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They must also complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application Process and a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.

For more information regarding Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, including repayment plans and estimated monthly payment amounts, please refer to the federal publication "Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt" at: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/repaying_loans/index.html

Federal Perkins Loan

This long-term federal loan program is funded jointly by the federal government and Mills College. Funds are limited and are awarded to students with exceptional financial need. The student's award letter will indicate the Federal Perkins Loan amount, if any, the student is eligible to borrow. Federal guidelines limit borrowing on this program to $5,500 annually. No interest accumulates on this loan as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Repayment, with a 5% interest rate, begins nine months after the recipient ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Depending on the amount of the loan, repayment may extend up to ten years.

For more information regarding Federal Perkins Loans, including repayment plans and estimated monthly payment amounts, please refer to the federal publication "Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt" at: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/repaying_loans/index.html

Private Loans

Private loans may assist with college expenses that may not be covered by federal loan programs or other financial aid.  Private loans are offered by a number of lenders but typically are credit-based, and they may have higher interest rates and fees than federal loans.  Private loans which must be certified by the College can be certified for a maximum of the student's estimated cost of attendance, as indicated on the student's financial aid award letter, minus other aid the student will be receiving for the academic year.  Mills College does not have a list of preferred private lenders.  The College has no preference regarding a student's choice of lender.  The College does not have special business relationships with any student loan providers and does not receive financial benefits from any lenders. 

Mills College Financial Aid Office Student Loan Code of Conduct

 1. Ban on Financial Ties:  Lenders are prohibited from giving anything of value to any college in exchange for any advantage sought by the lender.  This severs any inappropriate financial arrangements between lenders and schools and specifically prohibits "revenue sharing" agreements.

2. Ban on Payments for Preferred Lender Status:  Lenders may not pay or give colleges any financial benefits whatsoever to get on a college's preferred lender list.

3. Gift and Trip Prohibition:  Lenders are prohibited from giving college employees anything of more than nominal value.  This includes a prohibition on trips for financial aid officers and other college officials paid for by lenders. 

4. Advisory Board Rules:  Lenders are prohibited from paying college employees anything of value for serving on the advisory boards of the lenders.

5. Call-Center and Staffing Prohibition:  Lenders must ensure that employees of lenders never identify themselves to students as employees of the colleges.  No employee of a lender may ever work in or provide staffing assistance for a college financial aid office.

6. Disclosure of Range of Rates and Defaults: Lenders must disclose to any requesting school the range of rates they charge to students at the school, the number of borrowers at each rate at the school, and the lender's historic default rate at the school.  This will ensure that schools will have the information they need to select preferred lenders who are best for students and parents.

7.  Loan Resale Disclosure:  Lenders shall fully and prominently disclose to students and their parents any agreements they have to sell loans to any lender.

Overview

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Financial Aid Forms

Tuition & Typical
Expenses

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Understanding Your Award

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Direct Stafford/PLUS Loan Information

Applying for a Direct Stafford Loan

Applying for a Direct PLUS Loan

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Verification

Graduate Students

Deadlines

Financial Aid Forms

Tuition & Typical
Expenses

General Information

Terms and Conditions of Your Award

Accepting Your Award

Federal Stafford/Grad PLUS Loan Information

Satisfactory Academic Progress

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Contact Information

M Center
Carnegie Hall
P: 510.430.2000
F: 510.430.2003
E: finaid@mills.edu
Last Updated: 3/10/14