Student Loans

There are three primary loan options available to students depending upon enrollment status and citizenship. Click here for an overview of all available loan options. Additional information is included below.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are guaranteed educational loans. The maximum amount of Stafford Loans that a student may request in one academic or calendar year is $20,500. The summer semester may either be included as the beginning or the end of an academic year. The government charges an origination fee of 1.068% (for loans first disbursed on or after 10/1/15 and before 10/1/16) and 1.069% (for loans first disbursed on or after 10/1/16 and before 10/1/17) on the total amount of the Stafford Loan. The loan proceeds will be disbursed directly to the student's account, less the fee, in equal amounts, one payment for each term in the loan period. The government charges an interest rate of 5.31% for loans disbursed on or after 7/1/16 and before 7/1/17. More detailed information about Stafford Loans (interest rates, repayment schedule, origination fee, etc., can be found here.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are non-need based guaranteed loans. The only two conditions that would preclude a student from eligibility for this loan would be (a) if a student has reached his or her maximum lifetime aggregate limit (currently $138,500), or (b) if a student is in default status for a previously awarded federal loan. To request an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, an admitted student must complete the online FAFSA application and submit a Brandeis University Stafford Loan Request Form to Brandeis Student Financial Services at

Graduate Plus Loans

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed-interest student loan guaranteed by the federal government that allows graduate students to borrow the total cost for their graduate school needs, including tuition, room and board, supplies, lab expenses, and travel, less than any other aid. The Graduate PLUS Loan is a non-need, credit-based loan similar to a private student loan with the benefit of having a fixed interest rate and federal guarantee. U.S. citizens or eligible permanent residents enrolled at least half-time in a degree program can be considered for Graduate PLUS Loans.

Step-by-Step: Applying for a Graduate PLUS Loan

To request a Graduate PLUS Loan, please go to and click on “Log In.” You will need your FAFSA FSA ID and password to sign in. If you do not remember your FSA ID and password, you can retrieve it at the FAFSA web site. Once you have logged in, you will need to complete three steps that can be found at the Office of Student Financial Services web site.

Once you have fulfilled all loan and course registration requirements, you may then file for a refund of your credit balance directly through your SAGE account. You can submit the refund request through Sage Self Service. The link to the refund request can be found in the Student Center Finances under "My Account."

Graduate PLUS Loan FAQs

How much can I borrow with a Graduate PLUS Loan?

The yearly limit on a Graduate PLUS Loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. For example, if your cost of attendance is $60,000 and you receive $40,000 in other financial aid, you could borrow up to but no more than $20,000.

What kind of credit do I need?

A qualified Graduate Plus Loan borrower does not have an adverse credit history (defined in regulations as being 90 days or more delinquent on any debt, or having a credit report that shows default, discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment or write-off of a Title IV debt during the five years preceding the date of the credit report). Note that Graduate and Professional Student PLUS Loans do not use any kind of debt-to-income ratio or FICO® score, unlike private educational loans.

Do I need a co-signer?

Graduate students with good credit should not need a co-signer to apply for the loan. You might need a cosigner if your credit is insufficient. If you are denied, you can re-apply with a cosigner.

What is the interest rate on Graduate PLUS Loans?

Graduate PLUS Loan rates are fixed at 6.31% for first disbursed on or after 7/1/16 and before 7/1/17. Interest is charged on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full.

What fees are associated with Graduate PLUS Loans?

Graduate PLUS Loans have a federal origination fee of 4.272% on or after 10/1/15 and before 10/1/16 and 4.276 on or after 10/1/16 and before 10/1/17.

Private Loans

Both international students and domestic students could be eligible for private loans. These are U.S. based private loan options, but international students need to have a U.S. or naturalized citizen to co-sign the loan. You can research these loan options at ELM Select. All of these loans will require a credit check. Please note that although interest rates for private loans may appear lower sometimes than federal loans, the repayment options may also be less flexible for private loans. 

Loans for International Students

International students are eligible for private loans. Private educational loans depend upon applications sent directly to the lending organizations. Each private lending organization has its own policies governing when the approval can be made, so the best way to check this out would be on the organizations' individual websites. If you are considering loans to finance your studies, you will need to show that you have secured the amount indicated on your VIDOF form minus any scholarships you may have received from the Heller School. As the loan process can be lengthy, you should begin the process as soon as possible. There are U.S. based private loan options, but international students need to have a U.S. or naturalized citizen to co-sign the loan. You can research these loan options at the Federal Student Aid web site. Please note that you would NOT be eligible for the federal loan options, only the private lenders. You may also want to conduct a search for educational loans for international students on the web. Two options are International Student Loan and Global Student Loan Corporation.