All student loans, both federal and private, require new applications for each period of enrollment. For the Federal Direct Loans, the FAFSA serves as the application document. For private loans, apply directly with the lender. To reduce or cancel a loan, please contact the Financial Aid Office directly. Loans can be reduced or cancelled at any time prior to the end of the semester for which the funds paid. Student and parent education loans pay directly to the student's account on the University's scheduled disbursement date, or within two weeks of certification, whichever is later.
*Direct Loan Interest Rate Information - The Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 was signed into law August 9, 2013. Under this law, federal student loan interest rates will be calculated based on the 10-year Treasury bill. Loans will be "fixed -variable," meaning students would receive a fixed rate for the life of that loan, but each year rates will be recalculated and new loans will be made at the new rate. For example, an undergraduate student borrowing in 2014-2015 had an interest rate of 4.66% for the life of that year's loan. But, for 2015-2016 there was a recalculation of the applicable rate based on the 10-year Treasury Note at that time, and this new rate will apply to the life of the 2015-2016 loan. This law also places caps on future interest rates: 8.25% cap for undergraduate loans, 9.5% for graduate loans, and 10.5% for PLUS.
All NEW STUDENT borrowers must complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling AND Master Promissory Note at www.studentloans.gov. To view this website effectively, you will need one of the following supported browsers: MS Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
You will need your FSA ID to log in and e-sign your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note. You can obtain an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm and at certain ED websites. This is a loan in the student's name and it is important that students understand their loan. Parents should not do this for the student.
The Federal Direct Loan award is for the academic year and it will be disbursed to your student account, half in the fall semester and half in the spring semester.
If your parent wishes to borrow a Federal Parent Loan (PLUS) he/she should go to www.studentloans.gov to apply. The interest rate for the 2016-2017 academic year, under the Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, is fixed at 6.31%.* Your parent may borrow up to the total cost of education minus any financial aid you are receiving. The financial aid staff strongly encourage parents to borrow the PLUS Loan for the academic year as opposed to by the semester. When determining how much to borrow, please keep in mind the 4.272% origination fee that is taken off of the amount borrowed. Fall semester bills will be due in July and spring semester bills will be due in December.
Your parent will need his/her FSA ID to log on, apply for the Direct PLUS Loan and sign the Master Promissory Note. You can obtain an FSA ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm and at certain ED websites.
Westfield State University is committed providing students and families with the best possible information regarding student loan borrowing. We use www.elmselect.com as a way to assist students in selecting a lender. This tool allows students to compare the current terms and benefits of selected lenders' loan products and provides links to the necessary disclosure statements and applications. The Financial Aid Office at Westfield State University does not endorse any one private educational loan lender over another. We will not deny or unnecessarily delay the processing of a private education loan from a lender not on the institution's lender list. We use ELM Select as a way to deliver information to families so that they make the best possible decisions. Inclusion on ELM Select does not indicate preference over lenders not included. To learn more about the specific loan programs that have been reviewed and approved by the financial aid office, please click here for access to ELM Select.
In choosing lenders for our list, we sent a Request for Information out through the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. All of the lenders who responded were stable, reputable lenders who our students have used in the past, have demonstrated excellent customer service to students, offer competitive loan terms, and offer ease of application and processing for our students. Westfield State does not receive any monetary or other incentives for having these lenders on our list.
Gather your information. Items you will need include:
Find a cosigner. Students who do not have an established credit history will need a cosigner to obtain a credit decision. For those students who do have a credit history, a cosigner may improve your chance of approval for your loan, and may also help you secure a lower interest rate.
Review your Application Disclosure to find general information about your loan. This is the first of three disclosures your lender is required to provide for you.
Complete the Applicant Self Certification. You will need your Cost of Attendance and the amount of your financial aid.
Read your Approval Disclosure. This is the second of three disclosures that your lender is required to provide for you. The information on this form is specific to you and your approved loan and will not change for 30 days.
Watch for your Final Disclosure. This is the third and final disclosure. You must sign this document to formally accept the loan, and return it to your lender. Failure to do so will result in your approved loan being cancelled. Many private lenders are set up to accept and process this document online.
Loan funds will pay directly to the student's account on the University's scheduled disbursement date, or as quickly following said date as is allowed by Title X.
The approval process for a private loan will result in a "hard inquiry" placed on your credit report. Multiple applications within 30 days will only result in 1 hard inquiry so we recommend applying to multiple lenders to find the most competitive rates. Multiple hard inquiries may reduce your overall credit score, so we recommend completing all of your applications within a two week period in order to ensure that your application processing does not flow into a second 30 day period and result in a second hard inquiry.
Principle - the amount you borrowed that remains unpaid, before interest and fees. -
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) - the annual cost of your loan, including the effect of any fees or charges in addition to interest.
Fixed interest rate - a fixed interest rate remains the same throughout the entire loan term.
Variable interest rate - also referred to as "adjustable rates" - are subject to change, and could increase during the life of the loan, making the loan more expensive.
Interest Capitalization - when will unpaid interest be added to the principle of the loan? If you defer paying your loan while you are in school, you are deferring the principal, interest, and fees. Interest still accrues on the loan while you are in school, and then is added to the principal for you to pay back at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This means you will be paying interest on the interest you "borrowed." Making interest-only payments on an alternative loan while in school will drastically reduce the overall cost of the loan.
The average student loan debt for those students who started at Westfield State University, borrowed only federal student loans, and graduated between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 is $29,602.