While the University strives to provide generous financial aid packages without the use of student loans, students and families can rest assured that they do have several borrowing options in the event they are looking for assistance paying for expenses that may not be covered by their aid package or the family contribution.
Most students have access to Federal Direct Stafford Loans, which offer competitive interest rates and advantages over private loans. With student-focused repayment options, these need-based loans provide students the opportunity to borrow up to $5,500 as a first-year student to help with unmet educational expenses.
Although borrowing may not be a student’s first choice, it is important to remember that student loans can be a viable solution for funding gaps that may otherwise create hardship for the family. Please see the information below and contact Financial Aid with any further questions about borrowing options.
The University of Chicago participates in the Federal Direct Loan programs. Students and families can use loan funds from these programs to augment their need-based financial aid. Interest rates listed below are for loans originated in the 2023-24 academic year.
To request a federal loan, please complete the 2023-24 Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request Form and submit it to Financial Aid. Your request will be reviewed to determine your federal loan eligibility.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is a need-based loan with a 5.50% fixed interest rate. Student eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Loan interest does not accrue while students are enrolled at least half time. Students may borrow up to $3,500 in subsidized funds per academic year as a first-year student, $4,500 as a second-year and $5,500 as a third- or fourth-year student*. After leaving school, there is a six-month grace period before loan repayment begins. The origination fee is 1.057%.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is a loan with a 5.50% fixed interest rate. Student eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students may borrow up to $2,000 per academic year*. Loan interest accrues while the student is enrolled. After leaving school, there is a six-month grace period before loan repayment begins. The origination fee is 1.057%.
Interest rates are determined each year by the Federal Government. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for the most up-to-date interest rates.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
The Federal Parent PLUS Loan is a loan with a 8.05% fixed interest rate. This loan is borrowed by a family to assist with the educational expenses associated with their student’s education at the University of Chicago. This is a credit-based loan for which the family must qualify. If the family is not approved for the loan, an undergraduate student becomes eligible to borrow an additional amount through the unsubsidized Stafford Loan program: an additional $4,000 for first- and second-year students, and an additional $5,000 for third- and fourth-year students*. The origination fee is 4.228%.
Federal Loan Repayment
Repayment of Federal Direct student loans begins six months after your undergraduate enrollment drops below half-time (at UChicago, half-time is 200 units). Whether you graduate, or decide to take a year off from school, after six months you will be required to begin repayment.
Repayment of Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans begins 60 days after the final disbursement of the loan.
Please visit the U.S. Department of Education loan repayment website for more detailed information on loan repayment and the options available to you.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). To learn more about this program, please visit the PSLF website.
Financial Aid does not endorse or promote any lenders that offer private alternative loans. We advise that the alternative loan option be used as a last resort after all federal loan options have been exhausted. Additionally, we recommend that you use alternative student loans conservatively, as the interest rate will be variable or floating and will not be capped. Please be aware that the interest rates, repayment fees, and terms are more favorable with Federal Direct Loans. However, you may borrow from any lender of your choosing, and Financial Aid will still process your application in a timely manner.
Researching different alternative lenders, their loan products, and their benefits, as well as exploring other means of financial aid before applying for an alternative loan, is to the advantage of the student.
*First-Year Student: 0-899 Units; Second-Year Student: 900-1,799 Units; Third-Year Student: 1,800-2,699 Units; Fourth-Year Student: 2,700 Units and above.
Using Loans to Purchase a Computer
Students in need of funds to purchase a computer can submit a one-time budget increase request. If approved, the student may be able to borrow funds in the form of a loan for the purchase. To submit this request, please e-mail the Office of Financial Aid at email@example.com and include documentation of the cost of the computer.
Deferment of Previous Student Loans
Contact your loan servicer to verify that you have the option of deferring your loans while you are enrolled. If eligible to defer the loans, please visit detailed information on the university’s reporting process at the Registrar’s website. Do not stop making payments on your loan(s) until you receive written confirmation from your lender that your request for a deferment has been approved.
The Department of Education has an ombudsperson who works with Federal student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems. Please refer to the Office of Student Financial Assistance Ombudsman for detailed information on the steps you need to take to resolve a Federal loan dispute. The site lists frequently asked questions and allows you to contact the ombudsperson by e-mail. You may also contact the ombudsperson at (877) 557-2575.