Federal Direct Loan FAQs

How and when do I apply for a federal Direct Stafford loan if I want to borrow for the 2014-15 academic year?

For incoming first-years and students who have not previously borrowed:

Complete your 2014-15 Swarthmore College financial aid application.
Follow the instructions on our website or that are will be emailed to the first year class's Swarthmore email address later in May, 2014.

For students who have previously borrowed:

Complete your 2014-15 Swarthmore College financial aid application and tell us the amount you wish to borrow in # 2b of the Swarthmore Financial Aid Request form for continuing students, or tell us the amount you wish to borrow in an email to scloans@swarthmore.edu.

Where can I learn more about the federal Direct Stafford loan program?

Please visit our information page or the federal website.

What are the federal loan interest rates?

  • Your 2014-15 subsidized federal Direct Stafford Loan will be interest-free during your enrollment (while at Swarthmore and in graduate school, if you are enrolled at least half-time) but then 4.66% once you begin repayment and continuing for the life of the loan.
  • Your 2014-15 unsubsidized federal Direct Stafford Loan will carry a 4.66 % interest during your enrollment and during repayment (although you may defer repayment of interest during your enrollment). For the Federal Government's detailed explanation, please visit the Department of Education's website. For the most up-to-date explanation of all federal financial aid changes, visit Department of Education website.
  • The 2014-15 federal PLUS Loan will carry a 7.21% interest rate.

Where can I find an explanation of terms such as subsidized, unsubsidized, deferment, or forbearance?

Visit the Department of Education's website.

Why is my loan unsubsidized? 

We must follow federal regulations when we determine the subsidy on your federal Direct Loan. We use our standard costs, your expected family contribution from filing the FAFSA and all your sources of financial aid.

For the 2014-15 academic year what administrative fees will be retained from my loan by the US Department of Education?

Each July 1st, Congress approves legislation that may change the terms of federally funded financial aid programs, including loans.

  • The federal Direct Stafford Loan administrative fee is 1.072%. To figure the amount of the fee, take the amount borrowed and multiply by .01072. To figure the net amount, the actual amount that will be credited to your Swarthmore account, multiply the amount you requested by .98928.
  • The federal PLUS administrative fee is 4.292%. To figure the amount of the fee, take the amount borrowed and multiply by .04292.  To figure the net amount, the actual amount that will be credited to your student's Swarthmore account, multiply the amount you requested by .95708.

I'd like to know more about my federal student loan repayment obligations and opportunities.  Will Swarthmore be providing me guidance?

Yes,as always, we'll be providing a few financial literacy and debt management programs each semester. You may also visit our Direct Stafford Loan Guidance page for a list of helpful Federal Department of Education and private websites.