Types of loans:

  • Federal Stafford Loans are long-term, low interest loans awarded to students by the Westminster College financial aid office and are funded through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Eligibility for these loans are not based on credit history or income.
  • PLUS Loans are federally-funded loans awarded to parents of dependent undergraduate students to meet the costs of higher education.
  • Alternative Education Loans are loans offered by private lenders.

Applying for Federal Loans

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Westminster's federal school code is 003681
  2. Log on to your Self Service account to accept/reject the loans you are offered. You may borrow the amount of your choosing up to the full amount offered in your financial aid award.

First-time Loan Borrowers

If you have never previously borrowed a Federal Perkins or Stafford Loan, you will be required to complete what is called Loan Entrance Counseling. Loan Entrance Counseling will provide you with useful information regarding what your loan terms are and how loan repayment will work. You can complete Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling online.

Federal Stafford Loans

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

There are two types of Federal Stafford loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Loans must be repaid but students are not required to make payments on either type of loan while enrolled at least half-time in an eligible educational institution. However, students may choose to make regular or interest-only payments while enrolled.

  • Subsidized Stafford Loans are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. These loans are interest free while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible educational institution or during authorized deferment periods. Interest is charged when the loan is in a repayment or forbearance status.
  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are awarded regardless of a student's demonstrated financial need. These loans generate interest charges as soon as they are disbursed. The interest charges may be deferred during enrollment (at least half-time) and deferment periods, but they will be capitalized (added to the outstanding loan balance).

Stafford Loan Amounts

The amounts awarded on the Federal Stafford Loans are based on a student's academic level and status as either a dependent or independent of their parents as determined on the FAFSA. To determine your maximum loan eligibility see the dependent undergraduate and independent undergraduate tables below. Dependent undergraduate students may borrow up to a total of $31,000 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized). Independent undergraduate students and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to borrow through the Federal PLUS Program may borrow up to a total of $57,500 (no more than $23,000 may be subsidized).

Dependent Undergraduate Students:

Cumulative College Credit HoursAcademic LevelStafford Loan Amount
0-27First-Year Student$5,500

Independent Undergraduate Students:

Cumulative College Credit HoursAcademic LevelStafford Loan Amount
0-27First-Year Student$9,500

Please note that these amounts indicate the federal maximums. Individual student loans are based on the student's need level, expected costs, other financial aid, and additional factors.

Students awarded a Stafford Loan will be required to sign a Master Promissory Note during the first academic year that the funds are borrowed. The loan amount will be applied directly to the student's account once a Master Promissory Note has been signed and the student has completed Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling. Your information will be submitted to NSLDS and other authorized parties will have access.

Terms and Conditions of Stafford Loans

Interest Rates

The interest rates for federal student loans are determined by federal law. If there are future changes to federal law that affect federal student loan interest rates, we will update this page to reflect those changes. Interest rates will generally update every July.

Interest Rates for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019
Loan TypeInterest Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans (Undergraduate Students)Fixed at 5.05%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans (Undergraduate Students)Fixed at 5.05%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans (Graduate or Professional Students)Fixed at 6.6%
Direct PLUS Loans (Parents and Graduate or Professional Students)Fixed at 7.6%
As of July 1, 2012, graduate of professional students are no longer eligible to receive subsidized loans. In addition, no new FEEL Program loans have been made since July 1, 2010.


Federal Stafford Loans have an origination fee of 1.062% taken from the value of the loan when disbursed. The loan amounts listed above and on the Financial Aid Award Letter represent the gross amount of the loan (amount before fees have been paid).

Time Limit of Direct Subsidized Loan Eligibility—Effective July 1, 2013

There is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. In general, students may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of their program.


Loan repayment usually begins 6 months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. Repayment will initially be scheduled for fixed monthly payments over a 10 year period. Other repayment options are also available. Find your loan information and servicer.

PLUS Loans

PLUS Eligibility

Parents of dependent undergraduate students may choose to apply for a PLUS loan to assist in meeting the cost of education. The student must be attending school at least a half-time (6 credit hours for undergraduate students) in an approved program. Approval for a PLUS loan is based on a credit check. However, this credit check is more modest as it is not usually debt-to-income or credit score driven. Rather, it determines whether the parent has an adverse credit history. An adverse credit history is defined as being 90 or more days late on any debt or having Title IV debt (including a grant overpayment) within the past five years subjected to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off.

Students whose parents are unable to obtain a credit approval for a PLUS loan may qualify for additional funding through the Federal Stafford loan program. Parents who wish to apply for a PLUS loan must first complete a FAFSA form.

PLUS Interest Rates and Fees

For Direct PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 and before July 1, 2019, the interest rate is 7.6%. These are a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.

Each Federal PLUS loan disbursement is subject to a 4.248% origination fee which is taken from the value of the loan. The loan amounts listed on a Financial Aid Award Notice represent the gross amount of the loan (amount before the fees have been paid).

Applying for a Federal PLUS Loan

Complete the following steps to apply for a Federal PLUS Loan:

Alternative Educational Loans

Alternative student loans are private loans offered to students to assist with educational expenses. Since the loans are privately funded, the terms and conditions will vary based on the lender. This also means that interest rates and fees are not federally regulated and are therefore set by the individual lenders. Students are highly encouraged to carefully review the details of private loans before applying. Whenever possible, students considering alternative loans are encouraged to first consider federal student loans as the terms and conditions of federal loans may be more favorable than the provisions of alternative loans.

Eligibility for an alternative student loan is determined by the lender. In most cases, a student will need a co-signer in order to be approved. The lender will provide the student with an applicant self-certification form. Once the loan has been approved by the lender, the Westminster College Financial Aid Office will need to certify the loan amount.

Westminster College adheres to a Code of Conduct for Private Education Loans.

Alternative Loan Amounts

The amount available to be borrowed in alternative loan funding will vary by student. The certified loan amount cannot exceed the student's Cost of Attendance less any other financial aid received. If the amount approved by the lender is higher than the allowable maximum, it will be reduced by the school.

Applying for an Alternative Loan

Students should contact the lender of their choice for application instructions. Additional information about alternative loans and a historical list of lenders that Westminster has worked with in the past can be found on FASTChoice.

Loan options for students
Loan options for parents

Most lenders have online applications. We advise students to pursue all other source of funding before applying for an alternative loan. Please be sure to carefully review all terms and conditions before completing an application.