Alvernia University wants to simplify the borrowing process for you and your family as much as possible. The term “student loan” is commonly used to describe money borrowed to pay for a college education. Many different types of student loans exist. Some are federal loans, meaning the rules and regulations are set by the federal government. Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans are examples of federal loans.

We have included a description of each loan type to help you better understand your options and decide which loan is best for you. Remember to borrow only what you need. A loan must be paid back.


Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Direct Stafford Loans are federally regulated funds borrowed from the U.S. Department of Education. A student’s academic level determines the maximum eligibility for the Direct Stafford Loan each year. Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. Renewal of the loans requires the FAFSA to be completed each year. In addition, the student must be enrolled at least half-time (six credits per semester). Annual loan terms for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans are based on a minimum of two semesters per year. The interest rate on the Federal Loans is determined by federal law. The rate established each year is a fixed rate for the life of the loan. This rate fluctuates and each year by July 1, a new rate is determined. This rate may be the same, higher, or lower than the prior year's rate.


Stafford Loan limits are as follows:

If you are a dependent, undergraduate student, your loan limits are:

 Subsidized Limit      Additional Unsubsidized Limit
Junior & Senior$5,500$2,000

If you are an independent, undergraduate student or if you are a dependent, undergraduate student and your parent is not approved for a PLUS Loan, your loan limits are:

 Subsidized Limit      Additional Unsubsidized Limit
Junior & Senior$5,500$7,000

If you are a graduate student, you may annually borrow a Stafford unsubsidized loan up to:

       Unsubsidized Limit
Graduate         $20,500

Please note that all students who apply for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).


Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan for parents is a government-backed, loan with a fixed interest rate. Eligible parents may borrow up to the full annual cost of their child’s education, minus other financial aid received. The PLUS Loan may be deferred, including interest, or may be prepaid at anytime, without any penalty. PLUS Loan credit requirements are typically more lenient than consumer credit requirements. In general, any resolved credit problems are disregarded. To apply for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, please complete and submit a PLUS loan credit check and a Direct PLUS loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).  For detailed instructions on applying for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, please contact our office.

Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan for graduate and professional students (Grad PLUS Loan) can help you cover the full cost of your education, minus other aid received. The Grad PLUS Loan offers flexible credit requirements, a fixed interest rate set by the U.S. government and an easy application process. To apply for a Direct PLUS loan you must complete a PLUS credit check and a Direct PLUS loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Alternative or Private Loans

Alternative or private loans are not federal student loans. They are consumer loans made available by lenders to assist college students when federal loans are not enough to cover their college expenses. The credit requirements vary by individual lender and most often require a creditworthy co-borrower. Additional information on private student loans can be found here or by viewing Alvernia's Recommended Lender List.  If you plan to borrower via a private loan, please be aware that you may need to complete a Self Certification Form for your lender before your loan will be disbursed. Contact the our office to obtain a Self Certification Form.

Feel free to contact the Office of Student Financial Services via email or by calling 610-796-8201.

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