Federal Direct Loan FAQs

How and when do I apply for a Federal Direct Loan if I want to borrow for the academic year?

For incoming freshmen and/or students who have not previously borrowed:

Complete your Swarthmore College financial aid application.
Follow the instructions on our website or that are emailed to the first year class's Swarthmore email address in the Spring.

For students who have previously borrowed:

Complete your Swarthmore College financial aid application and tell us the amount you wish to borrow in the Supplemental Questions (SQ section) of your College Board PROFILE form or email the amount you wish to borrow to scloans@swarthmore.edu.

Where can I learn more about the Federal Direct Loan program?

Please visit our information page or the federal website.

What are the Federal Direct Loan interest rates?

  • Your 2016-17 Subsidized Federal Direct 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 3.76% once you begin repayment and continuing for the life of the loan.
  • Your 2016-17Uunsubsidized Federal Direct Loan will carry a 3.76% 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 2016-17 Federal PLUS Loan will carry a 6.31% 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.

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. These amounts are for the 2015-16 year and will be reaffirmed or adjusted by Congress in July 2016.

  • The Federal Direct Loan administrative fee is 1.068%.
  • The Federal PLUS administrative fee is 4.288%. 

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

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