Loans are an important source of funds for graduate students, and you may be eligible to apply for various types. To keep loan debts manageable, we urge all students to borrow no more than necessary.
A number of federal loans are available from Boston University through the U.S. Department of Education. As a graduate student, you are independent for federal loan purposes, meaning parental information will not be considered in determining your federal financial need.
Questions about requesting a loan refund? Please click here.
Boston University’s institutional code number for the FAFSA: 002130
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Budget Control Act of 2011 – Information regarding changes to the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program for Graduate and Professional students.
Most financial aid packages include a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan in which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loan. Interest accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan. The federal government does not pay the interest on these loans, and they are not made on the basis of financial need. The Direct Unsubsidized loans have a fixed interest rate and a maximum loan of $10,250 per semester/ $20,500 per academic year. For current interest rates and loan fees, please visit the U.S. Department site.
Your Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a 6-month grace period that begins the day after you stop attending school or you drop below half-time enrollment (a minimum of 6 credits). You are not required to make payments during this grace period.
To determine your eligibility for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Note that first-time borrowers of a Direct Unsubsidized Loan must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note.
You may request these loans on the Sargent College Graduate Application for Financial Assistance (new students) or the Continuing Student Financial Assistance Application which can be downloaded here.
An origination fee is deducted automatically from amounts borrowed on Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The net result is that the amount disbursed is less than the loan amount afactpproved. For current loan fees, please visit the U.S. Department site.
Need a summer term loan?
If you are taking at least 6 credits during summer term, download the Summer Direct Unsubsidized Loan Fact Sheet For Graduate Students here. Please be sure to use the summer application for the current year. This form will also be available beginning in March in the Graduate Financial Aid office, Room 217, 635 Commonwealth Avenue.
Graduate Federal Plus Loan
If you are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits per semester), you may qualify for this federal credit-based loan. To apply, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
For more information, download the Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan Fact Sheet & Request Form.
An origination fee is deducted automatically from amounts borrowed on Direct Plus Loans. The net result is that the amount disbursed is less than the loan amount approved.
Alternative Loan Programs
In addition to federal loans, you may apply for a loan with the private lender of your choice to help cover your educational expenses. These loans should be applied for directly on the lender’s website. To have an alternative loan in place for the fall semester, please apply in mid-June.
Get more information on these and other loan options at the BU Financial Assistance website.
Note: Alternative loans are credit-based and require a good credit rating for the student and co-applicant. Before applying, you may want to check your credit rating.
To order your free annual credit report:
Visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
Mail your completed Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105283
Atlanta, GA 30348-5283
If you prefer, you can check your credit rating by purchasing a package from Fair Isaac Company. Order the package with with your FICO score and information from all three credit reporting bureaus.
Federal Perkins Loan
This need-based loan is government-subsidized (see above). Repayment begins 9 months after graduation or when you are no longer enrolled at least half time (a minimum of 6 credits). To apply, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
First-time borrowers of the Federal Perkins Loan must complete a Master Promissory Note; a hardcopy will be mailed to you for verification and signature.
Clinical Affiliation / Internship Loans
You may be eligible for federal loans to help cover your living expenses during a required affiliation or internship program. You must have a completed FAFSA on record and submit one of the following forms at least 6 weeks before you begin your program.
If you are starting your affiliation/internship during the academic year:
Download the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Request Form for Graduate Students here or pick up the form in the Sargent College Graduate Financial Aid Office, Room 217 at 635 Commonwealth Avenue.
If you are starting your affiliation/internship between May and early August:
Download the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Summer Loan Application here or pick up the form beginning in March in the Sargent College Graduate Financial Aid Office, Room 217, 635 Commonwealth Avenue. Please be sure to use the summer application for the current year.
To request a refund:
Beginning on the first day of your affiliation, you are eligible for a refund of the credit balance in your student account after tuition and fees have been paid. Refunds are now available for deposit directly into your bank account by completing the online Request available on the Student Link.
To Request a Refund, go to Student Link > Money Matters > Student Account Inquiry > Request a Refund. Click on the link and follow the instructions.
Loan Entrance & Exit Counseling
Entrance counseling is a federal requirement for all first-time borrowers of Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus loans. This gives you key information about your rights, responsibilities, interest rates, and other loan details. Your loan request will not be reviewed until you’ve completed this counseling. Online entrance counseling can be completed quickly and easily at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.
Exit counseling is also required of Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Perkins loan borrowers. You must complete this counseling before receiving your degree or when you fall below 6 credits per semester. Your diploma will be placed “on hold” if you haven’t met this requirement. The Office of Financial Assistance will make every effort to contact you with information about group counseling sessions. You may complete your Direct Unsubsidized Loan exit counseling online at the https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/.
Note: To complete both your entrance and exit counseling online, you will need your Federal Student Aid PIN.
- Perkins Exit counseling: Per Federal Regulation, all federal Perkins Loan borrowers must complete an Exit Interview prior to separating from the University. This Exit Interview cannot be completed online. On campus sessions are held in the Spring semester. If you are unable to attend an on campus session, you may contact the BU Student Loan department.
Master Promissory Note
When taking out a federal loan for the first time through Boston University, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Federal loans include the Direct Unsubsidized, Graduate Plus, and Perkins loans. We recommend completing the MPN as early as possible.
For a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan or Graduate Federal Plus Loan, go to https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action
The Master Promissory Note for the Federal Perkins Loan is not available online. A hardcopy will be mailed to you before the start of the Fall semester.