Student loans are financial obligations that must be repaid. Pay careful attention to the terms and conditions of any loan you accept to help pay for school. Do not borrow more than you need or would be unable to comfortably repay after leaving school. A comparison of various loans may be found on the Student Loans Program Chart.
Most student loans have the following characteristics:
- They are interest-free while you are in school on at least a half-time basis and during the grace period (six to nine months after leaving school). Interest begins to accrue during the repayment period (exception: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, on which interest begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed).
- Repayment on student loans may be deferred temporarily if you return to school half-time, join the Armed Service, Peace Corps, VISTA or comparable volunteer organizations, or become a law enforcement officer. Some loans offer cancellation provisions based on public service or teaching in low-income service areas.
- You may have up to 10 years to repay the loan or possibly less than 10 years if your loan is paid off sooner by making the minimum monthly payments. The Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loan and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan have other repayment options, which may allow you a more flexible time period for repayment.
- Title IV federal student loans are reported to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and will be accessible by federal agencies and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system to ensure proper administration of the loans. Student borrowers can access their NSLDS account as well to track their educational loan records.
Student loan resources
The Office of Student Financial Aid has funds available for short-term loans to assist students with temporary cash flow problems. Funds are generally available within one to four working days, only to students who are currently attending the university (loans cannot be processed between quarters). Repayment is due by the next quarter, or whenever additional funds such as financial aid arrive on account, whichever comes first. There is no interest on the short-term loans but there is a service charge added to the repayment amount.
Students may apply online through MyUW under "Personal Services." Paper application forms are also available in the Financial Aid Office, but the processing time is longer.