Loans for Graduate Students
To be considered for need-based federal, state, and university loan funds, graduate students must complete and submit the FAFSA. Unsubsidized loans and alternative loans, which are not based on need, are available for students who don't qualify for need-based financial aid. UC Davis has chosen to participate in the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Under this program, the loan funds come directly from the U.S. government. We are unable to process Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program applications offered through banks or other lending institutions.
Federal student loans are available to most students regardless of income and provide a range of repayment options including income-based repayment plans and loan forgiveness benefits, which other education loans are not required to provide.
If you are offered a loan, you'll be notifed by e-mail to visit MyAwards to review the loan information and to accept, decline, or reduce the amount.
- Direct Loan Glossary
- Alternative Loans
- Before You Borrow
- Calculate Direct Loan Repayments
- Direct Loan Deferment Forms
(Scroll to "II. Managing Your . . .")
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Graduate/Professional Student Loan Limits
- Emil M. Mrak Student Loans
(for grad students in agricultural-related programs)
- Entrance Loan Counseling
- Exit Loan Counseling
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group
- Graduate PLUS Loans
- Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
- Interest Rate Tables
- Loan Fees and Repayment
- Master Promissory Note Online
- NSLDS Student and Lender Loan History
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
- Short-Term Loan Information and Online Application
Important Updates on Federal Student Loan Programs
HR 1911, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, was recently implemented with an effective date of July 1, 2013. Under the new law, interest rates for all newly-issued Federal Direct student loans are tied to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate, plus add-ons to offset costs. It also places a fixed cap on the interest rate for each program affected. The 2013-2014 rates affecting Graduate students are outlined below:
2013-2014 Federal Direct Student Loan Interest Rates for Graduates
Rate Formula *
Projected Fixed Cap
T-bill + 3.60%
T-bill + 4.60%
* For 2013-2014, the assumption is that the T-bill rate = 1.81%
As of July 1, 2013, new Federal Regulations also took effect that impacting the following Federal Direct loan programs for graduate students:
- The loan fee for Direct Unsubsidized Loans increased from 1.0% of the principal amount of a loan to 1.051%.
- The loan fee for Direct Graduate PLUS Loans increased from 4.0% to 4.204%.
The above interest rate and loan fee changes only affect loans with an initial disbursement after July 1, 2013. Interest rates are subject to change on an annual basis. We encourage you to visit the National Student Loan Data Service (NSLDS) website at nslds.ed.gov for a complete summary of your federal student loans to date. For information on any alternative/private loans you may have, please contact your lender directly.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need. The interest rate is 5.41% (projected for 2013-2014) is charged beginning the day the loan is disbursed until the loan is repaid in full. The interest rate is tied to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate, plus 3.6% to offset costs, and is adjusted each year on July 1. Students may pay the interest while they are in school, during the grace period, or during deferment, or they may capitalize the interest (by adding it to the total principal of the loan).
Again, you have the option to borrow less by changing the amount online through MyAwards before accepting the loan. For loan limits, see the Graduate/Professional Loan Limits chart.
As a borrower, you will be charged a loan fee when you borrow Federal Direct Stafford Loans. The impact of Sequestration on the Federal Direct Loan program has resulted in a processing fee increase from 1% to 1.051% for loan whose initial disbursement is made on or after July 1, 2013. This fee is deducted proportionately from each disbursement of your loan. After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a six-month (grace period) before you begin repayment. During the grace period on an unsubsidized loan, you don't have to pay any principal, but interest will be charged. You can either pay the interest or allow it to accumulate. Every educational loan you receive will require that you sign a Promissory Note, in which you will agree to the interest rate and repayment requirements required for the loan.
Repayment Plan Information and Repayment Calculators are Available at StudentLoans.gov
You have a variety of repayment options. If you do not select a plan, your loans
will automatically be placed in the Standard Repayment Plan. Choose a
repayment plan that's right for you:
- Standard Plan: You pay a fixed amount each month until your loans are paid in full. Your monthly payments will be at least $50, and you'll have up to 10 years to repay.
- Extended Plan: You will have minimum monthly payments of $50, but you can take from 12 to 30 years to repay your loans, depending on the amount you owe.
- Graduated Plan: Your payments start out low, then increase, generally every two years. The length of your repayment period will be from 12 to 30 years and will depend on the total amount you owe.
- Income Contingent Plan (ICR): Your payments are based on your ability to pay each year, your monthly payments will be calculated on the basis of your annual income, certain other factors, and the total amount of your Direct Loans. Borrowers who choose the ICR have up to 25 years to repay their loans.
- Income-Based Repayment Plan: This program sets monthly payments based on adjusted gross income and family size. Unpaid principal and interest is generally added to your loan amount. Any debt remaining is wiped out after 25 years - or after 10 years if you work in the public or nonprofit sector.
Know How Much It Will Cost You To Borrow: The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) has created a convenient publication illustrating the costs borrowers face when repaying student loans, which is provided here for your convenience: Student Loan Repayment Interest Rate Tables
Federal Perkins Loans are currently at a 5% interest rate (subject to change). Perkins Loans may be limited to a percentage of student's need, their respective programs, or because of demand and limited funds. Repayment begins nine months after graduation or withdrawal from school and may be extended over ten years. Additional deferments are possible for temporary total disability or volunteer service in a private, non-profit organization, VISTA or the Peace Corps. Effective July 1, 2001, for a period not to exceed three years students serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency. Some teachers of students from low-income families and full-time teachers of handicapped children may also qualify for partial loan cancellation.
The Federal Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) has been updated to reflect changes to the terms and conditions of Perkins Loans that were made by recent legislation. If you have accepted a Perkins Loan and signed the Master Promissory Note (MPN) before October 1, 2009, please read and retain the Perkins Addendum summarizing the changes to the loan terms and conditions.
If you are offered a Federal Perkins Loan, you'll be asked to complete and submit a Promissory Note, Truth-in-Lending form, Acceptance of Loan Obligation form, and Loan/Borrower Information forms, which are available for printing from MyAwards.
Upon graduation or withdrawal from school, repayment arrangements for Federal Perkins Loans are made through Student Accounting, 2100 Dutton Hall.
Students who need to borrow funds beyond the federal unsubsidized and Perkins loan limits can choose between the federal Graduate PLUS loan and private loans. The Graduate PLUS loan is provided by the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Students in Teaching Credential programs are not eligible for Graduate PLUS loans.
The Graduate PLUS loan has an interest rate of 6.41% (projected for 2013-2014) with no annual or aggregate borrowing limits (other than cost of attendance less other financial aid received). Interest is charged beginning the day the loan is disbursed until the loan is repaid in full. The interest rate is tied to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate, plus 4.6% to offset costs, and is adjusted each year on July 1. While credit checks are required to be eligible for a Graduate PLUS loan, the credit criteria are less strict than those associated with private student loans. Furthermore, if you do not meet the credit requirements for a Graduate PLUS loan, you may still obtain the loan with an endorser who does meet the credit requirements. All federal Graduate PLUS loans have an origination fee deducted from the loan amount. The impact of Sequestration has resulted in a fee increase from 4% to 4.204% for loans whose initial disbursement is made on or after July 1, 2013.
To receive a Graduate PLUS loan offered through MyAwards, complete the Direct PLUS application online at StudentLoans.gov. Students in the School of Law or the Health System can apply at their respective Financial Aid Office. In addition, students must complete the new electronic Master Promissory Note for the Graduate PLUS loan, which is also available through StudentLoans.gov.
Federal Direct Loans and Graduate PLUS loans require a Master Promissory Note, which allows a student to receive multiple Direct Loans under one Promissory Note while enrolled at UC Davis. Entering students or first-time borrowers will be asked to sign a Promissory Note online at StudentLoans.gov.
HPSL and LDS loans are offered to students in the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and are currently at 5% interest rate. A student applicant must be a citizen or national of the United States, or a lawful permanent resident of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Trust Territory of the Pacific. A student who remains in this country on a student or visitor's visa is not eligible.
Students receiving HPSL or LDS loans must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student in a health professions school participating in the HPSL program. The student must be in good standing, as defined by the school, and capable in the opinion of the school of maintaining good standing in the course of study. Graduate students are considered independent for financial aid eligibility; however, regulations require schools to consider parents' information for the purpose of awarding HPSL and LDS funds. This requirement cannot be waived. Unless the parents are deceased, a student who does not provide parental income information may not be considered for HPSL or LDS funds.
If you are offered and accept an HPSL or LDS loan, you'll be asked to complete and submit a Master Promissory Note, read and submit Truth-in-Lending Documents, and agree to the Acceptance of Loan Obligation and Loan/Borrower Information, and review your Rights and Responsibilities as a borrower, all of which are available through MyAwards.
Upon graduation or withdrawal from school, Exit Counseling and repayment arrangements for HPSL and LDS are made through Student Accounting, 2100 Dutton Hall. Click here for more details about these programs.
Alternative loans, also known as private loans, are obtained through outside lending institutions. They can help a student pay for college expenses that may not be covered by Federal Title IV loans or other financial aid. Alternative loans can assist in filling the 'gap' between what a student receives from all funding sources and what the student's need is.
The Graduate Unit can assist in determining the student's eligibility for loan. The federal government does NOT guarantee the alternative loan so the student must be credit-worthy or secure a credit-worthy cosigner to be eligible.
For more information and an application, visit the Alternative Loans Web page.
Federal regulations require that all first-time borrowers receive entrance loan counseling before funds are disbursed. Visit Entrance Loan Counseling at StudentLoans.gov
Students who are approaching graduation, and before leaving school, are required to attend Exit Loan counseling to assess their loan indebtedness and to receive a repayment schedule. Student Accounting provides Exit Loan counseling for Federal Perkins Loans, Health Professions Student Loans, Primary Care Loans, Loans for Disadvantaged Students, Nursing Student Loans, Nurse Faculty Loans, and University Loans.
For Exit Loan Counseling for Federal Direct Loans, visit StudentLoans.gov.
For a summary of your federal loan indebtedness, you may visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at http:/www.nslds.ed.gov.
In 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers. For More information, visit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Website
The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group is available to help resolve disputes related to Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, and Perkins Loans. For assistance, contact their office at 1-877-557-2575 or visit their website at studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/disputes/prepare.
For students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Emil M. Mrak Student Loan Program is an excellent opportunity for graduate students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences who may need additional financial aid. This program offers a favorable repayment plan and an interest rate lower than most federal or private loan programs. For more information and and to apply, visit financialaid.ucdavis.edu/undergraduate/types/Loansmrak.html.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan.....................................................$20,500
Additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility for students in certain health professions programs:
- Graduate in Public Health; Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology; Masters or Doctoral Degree in Health Administration
- » 9-month academic year.......................................................$12,500
Veterinary Medicine, Allopathic Medicine
- » 9-month academic year ......................................................$20,000
- » 12-month academic year .....................................................$26,667
2012-13 Aggregate Loan Limits
- Graduate & Professional Students ............................................$138,500 (up to $65,500 may be subsidized)
- Students in certain health professions programs...........................$224,000 (up to $65,500 may be subsidized)