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To be eligible students must complete a FAFSA, be admitted to a degree program, and must be registered on at least a half-time basis.

Federal Direct Loan

The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is awarded to graduate students up to $20,500 per year. Interest on an Unsubsidized Loan is not paid by the federal government at any time. Please see items to complete to fund these loans here

Teaching Credential Only

The subsidized Direct Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need up to $5,500 per year for graduate students. Students awarded a Subsidized Loan are not charged interest when enrolled at least half-time.

Independent teaching credential students may borrow up to $12,500 of which no more than $5,500 may be a Subsidized Loan. Interest in an Unsubsidized Loan is not paid by the federal government at any time.

Graduate PLUS Loan

The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to all graduate students. The Graduate PLUS Loan is available to students who are enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program. You must use all of your Federal Direct Loan eligibility before receiving the PLUS Loan and must meet federal credit eligibility requirements. Eligible graduate students can borrow the difference between their educational costs and any financial assistance being received at a fixed interest rate of 5.30%. To apply go to and sign in with your FAFSA PIN to begin the process.

Private/Alternative Loans

Private loans are another option to help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the federal student loans. Private loans are offered by private lenders and eligibility often depends on the borrower's credit score. To view a list of private loans that have been selected by Saint Mary's College students, go to The loan programs displayed on this website are for informational purposes only. Borrowers are free to choose any participating lender.

Private loans often carry higher interest rates and fees than federal loans. Students considering student loans need to be aware of the differences between federal student loans and private student loans.

Private student loan lenders can offer variable interest rates that can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions. The interest rate on a private student loan may depend on the borrower's and/or co-signer's credit rating. Private student loans have a range of interest rates and fees and students should determine the interest rate of, and any fees associated with, the private student loan before accepting the loan.

In comparison, Federal Direct Loans are required by law the provide a range of flexible repayment options including, but not limited to, income-based and income-contingent repayment plans as well as loan forgiveness benefits that private lenders are not required to provide. Federal Direct Loans are available to most students regardless of income.

Calculating Repayment

To assist you in calculating an estimated loan payment visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to view your loan history. After retrieving your total outstanding loans go to Federal Student Aid and calculate your estiamted repayment.