Undergraduate Degree Students

Whether you’re paying college expenses with savings or taking out loans, the damaged economy resulting from the global pandemic may make paying your tuition bill even more challenging. The information below is presented to help you and your family make smarter choices about how to pay for BU and thoughtful borrowing decisions. But first, learn more about the important Four Steps to Managing the Cost of Your Education.

Before applying for a private credit-based loan, consider all your options:

  • Federal Direct Student Loan – The student alone is the borrower and generally the terms are more favorable. Eligibility is not based on credit; instead eligibility for the subsidized version is based on financial need as demonstrated via the FAFSA and eligibility for the unsubsidized version is granted even when the FAFSA yields no demonstrated need. Be sure you have been awarded the full amount allowed before pursuing other loans. More information including maximum loan limits is available here.
  • Federal PLUS Loan – The parent of a dependent undergraduate student is the borrower. Eligibility is based on the PLUS credit criteria which is less stringent than the criteria used by most private loan lenders. At 8.05%, the PLUS Loan interest rate may be higher that the rate you may qualify for through a private lender. Also, the PLUS Loan requires a 4.228% origination fee; most private lenders do not require fees. More on the Federal PLUS Loan including the application to apply for a PLUS Loan at Boston University is here.
  • State-sponsored loans – You may also want to check state-sponsored educational loans. Link to states that sponsor educational loans here. Some require in-state residency while others do not.

Private Credit-Based Loans & Credible.com

We urge you to compare credit-based loan information and terms carefully to determine the best fit for your particular circumstances and we suggest using Credible to do so. Credible is a free online loan selection tool that allows you to compare prequalified rates, terms, and eligibility rules side-by-side in just a few minutes. You can filter your search to sort on key factors most important to you. With your approval, Credible will pull a soft credit inquiry, which will not affect your credit score but will enable you to compare interest rates you qualify for at multiple lenders.

Requesting prequalified rates on Credible is free and doesn’t affect your credit score. However, applying for or closing a loan will involve a hard credit pull that impacts your credit score and closing a loan will result in costs to you. Credible assures users that it is secured with 256-bit encryption technology. The Credible privacy policy can be found here. You are not required to borrow from any of the lenders listed in the Credible marketplace. Only you and your family can decide which loan program is best for you. You are not required to borrow from any of the lenders suggested by Credible and there is no penalty for selecting a different lender, if you prefer.

If you are interested in applying for a credit-based loan, it’s advised that you do so no more than 90 days prior to the start of the enrollment period, i.e. early June for loan periods starting in the fall semester and mid-October for loan periods starting in the spring semester.

Additional Resources for Undergraduates

Check our Credit-Based Loan Timeline page for more information about what action steps you need to take and when to take them. For example: Will you need to borrow? If so, how much? What should you look for in a loan to ensure that it meets your needs and priorities? How do you pick a lender, and how do you apply?