A UMass Dartmouth education will open a world of opportunities for you. It is an investment that will pay dividends over the course of your entire life. Consequently, like any other investment, you should examine all available options when considering the cost of the University. Just as you do not have to pay for a home or car all at once, you may also choose to finance your education.
Before considering private loans, you should first apply for federal, state, and institutional financial aid at www.fafsa.gov/. Many who have thought that they would not be eligible for financial assistance, or that such assistance would not offer significant help, have been pleasantly surprised.
Upon determining the total cost of your UMass Dartmouth education, you should consider that any significant expense is best funded with a combination of income from the past, present, and future. Income from the past that has been earmarked for education should be the first source you draw upon for payment of the bill. Other savings and investments should also be considered, although not entirely exhausted. Present income should be the next source from which you draw upon. If you cannot pay the final balance due at the beginning of each semester, but can set aside a certain amount of money from monthly income to pay the bill, you may wish to consider the interest-free monthly payment option. If upon combining your savings and current earnings you are still unable to cover the charges due for each semester, you may want to consider a private education loan.
Begin by totaling your tuition, room and board expenses, and fees for the entire academic year. Then, subtract any scholarships, grants, loans or deposits made to determine your estimated out of- pocket expenses. When applying for a private education loan, be sure to apply for the amount that you will need for the entire academic year (i.e. Fall 2010 AND Spring 2011 semesters). Please keep in mind that private education loans take several weeks to process. Loans will not be deducted from your outstanding balance at UMass Dartmouth until funds have been received.
The following are some of the important factors to consider in evaluating borrowing options:
- INTEREST RATE: Interest is money paid to the lender for the use of borrowed funds. Comparing interest rates is a helpful indicator of the relative cost when comparing two loans.
- FIXED VS. VARIABLE RATE: While most education loans feature variable interest rates, some have interest rates that are fixed for the life of the loan. Interest charged on variable rate loans is subject to change, anywhere from monthly to annually. The interest rate is normally tied to an index such as Prime Rate, LIBOR, U.S. Treasury Bills, Auction Rate Securities, or another rate that may fluctuate over time. In evaluating a variable rate loan, you should understand how frequently your payment may change, and whether there is any cap on how high the interest rate may go.
- LOAN FEES: In addition to interest, many loans have additional fees that are either added to the loan amount or deducted from the loan proceeds. These may be referred to as Origination fees or Guarantee fees.
- ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR): The APR reflects the total cost of borrowing money over the life of the loan, considering not only the interest rate, but also the effect of other fees on the total cost of repaying the amount financed.
- REQUIRED MONTHLY PAYMENT: For many families, the amount of the monthly payment is an important factor in choosing a loan.
- GRACE PERIOD: The grace period is the six-month payment-free period that follows the student's graduation, withdrawal, or dropping below half-time enrollment status. Like other forms of borrowing, most education loans are subject to credit approval. Many lenders use automated credit "scoring" models to determine your creditworthiness. Your credit score is determined by many factors, most notably your record of past credit use.
Please refer to the following web site for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Code of Conduct for Student Loan Programs: http://www.bhe.mass.edu/library/Motions/2007/FAAP07-29.pdf
Every student/parent/guardian has the right to select their own lender. The lenders listed at this site are independent entities. The University of Massachusetts (University, UMass) makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees, implied or otherwise, as to the lenders listed at this site or that the financing options presented at this site are the most attractive terms available to any particular student, or parent, or guardian of a student seeking financial aid. Also, information may not be updated or timely or may be subject to data entry errors or changes by the lender. Please read carefully final loan agreements or promissory notes and understand their payment terms and other obligations.
The University is not a lender and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, financial planning or other related professional services. Any agreements entered into with the lenders whose products are included at this site will exist solely between the lender and the borrower, and UMass assumes no obligation or liability in connection with any such agreements.
The University recommends that borrowers consult with their own expert advisors before making educational financing decisions. Students and their parents/guardians have the right and ability to select the education loan provider of their choice, and are not required to use any of the lenders listed here. There will be no penalty for choosing a lender that is not included as a lender on this site.
The lenders listed on this website responded to a publicly solicited Request for Response for private/alternative student loans. This request document can be found on the Internet by searching for the document number "UP09PC0226." The University reviewed information regarding each lending institution's background, loan program requirements, and customer service and program affiliations. The interest rate, fees, or loan cost offered by these lenders may not be the lowest available. In addition, a lender may change the rates, terms, fees, and other information from that which was presented in their original responses. The University will review the status of each lender at least annually and may add or drop lenders from this list. The University reviewers from UMass campuses at Lowell, Dartmouth, and Boston have declared no personal affiliation, financial interest, benefit, or other personal ties related to these lenders in a signed affidavit maintained on file at the University.
Please keep in mind that private education loans take several weeks to process. Loans will not be deducted from an outstanding balance at UMass Dartmouth until funds have been received. When applying for a private education loan, please be sure to apply for the entire amount that you will need for the full academic year (i.e. Fall 2010 AND Spring 2011 semesters).
Chase, http://www.chaseselectloans.com/, 1-866-306-0868
CitiAssist, www.studentloan.com, 1-800-967-2400
Citizens Bank, www.citizensbank.com/TFLoan, 1-800-708-6684
Collegiate Custom Choice Loan funded by SunTrust Bank, http://www.collegiatestudentloans.com, 1-866-230-5609
Discover, www.discoverstudentloans.com, 1-877-728-3030
Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), http://www.mefa.org/, 1-800-449-6332
National Education, www.nationaleducation.com, 1-800-353-3357
PNC Bank Education Loan Center, www.pnconcampus.com, 1-800-762-1001
Sallie Mae, http://www.salliemae.com/umassd, 1-888-272-5543
Wells Fargo, https://www.wellsfargo.com/student/undergrad/collegiate/, 1-800-658-3567
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) included legislation to specifically regulate private education loans through amendments to the Truth in Lending Act.
The intent of the Act is to:
- Improve the information provided to students regarding cost.
- Ensure students are aware of federal loan options.
- Encourage students to consult with their Financial Aid Office before making education financing decisions to prevent over-borrowing.
The key changes that directly impact the timeline of private loan processing include:
1. Lenders must provide students with three new disclosures:
- Application Disclosure
- Approval Disclosure
- Final Disclosure
2. Allow students at least a 30-day period after approval to accept the loan offer.
3. Students must submit to their lender a Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form prior to disbursement.The student may obtain cost information from the UMass Dartmouth web site at http://www.umassd.edu/undergraduate/costs/welcome.cfm and their financial aid award information from the UMass Dartmouth COIN system at http://www.umassd.edu/coin/. Some lenders will have the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification built into their web-based application process but other lenders will require the paper certification form be mailed or faxed to them. The student must determine from their lender how they wish to receive the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification.
4. Lenders must provide a three business day ‘right to cancel' period after customer receipt of the Final Disclosure. Loan funds cannot be disbursed until after the end of the cancellation period.