There are different loan programs available for student borrowers as well as a variety of programs for parents.
UMF strongly encourages you to evaluate the different choices available. The best advice that we can offer is to urge you to explore your financial aid options thoroughly and to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of a strategy to ensure that you first determine if you have any eligibility for grants and scholarships.
If you need to borrow to finance your education, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the terms of the various loan programs in order to understand the repayment obligations before you choose to borrow. Some loans enable you to defer repayment until after you have left college and some may require entering repayment immediately after the loan is received. Not all loans are the same and it is important to find choices that are best suited for your needs.
For undergraduate students who began college as first-year students at UMF and graduated between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, the average student loan indebtedness for student borrowers at graduation was $28,751 taking into account Federal, State, and Private Alternative Loans.
Loan assistance must be repaid. Educational loans typically have a lower interest rate than consumer or personal loans. Most educational loans have deferment provisions that allow the borrower to postpone repayment of the principal until after graduation.
Types of Direct Student Loans
There are two types of Direct Student Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. The Federal government pays the interest on subsidized Direct Student Loans while the student is in school and enrolled for at least 6 credits or in a deferment period. With unsubsidized Direct Student Loans, the student is responsible to either pay or capitalize the interest while in school or during a deferment period.
The amount of Direct Student Loan a student may borrow is determined by grade level, cost of attendance, family contribution and other aid. The loan limits for subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Student Loans combined are:
|Grade Level||Type of Loan||Dependent||Independent|
|1st Year (0 – 23 earned credits)||Subsidized/Unsubsidized||$3,500||$3,500|
|2nd Year (24 – 53 earned credits)||Subsidized/Unsubsidized||$4,500||$4,500|
|3rd & 4th Year (54 or more earned credits)||Subsidized/Unsubsidized||$5,500||$5,500|
*Students considered independent for financial aid purposes, and dependent students whose parents have been denied a PLUS loan, may be eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized Direct Student Loan funds beyond the regular limits. Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan limits for independent students are increased by $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores, and $5,000 for juniors and seniors.
Origination fees totaling up to 1.057% are deducted from each disbursement made after October 1st, 2020. These are collected by the Federal government and the guarantee agency to offset the cost of the loan program and loan defaults.
The interest rate for subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Student Loans is variable and capped at 8.25%. The interest rate is set annually by the Federal government after June 30. The current interest rate for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 and before July 1, 2021 is 2.75%.
Loan Counseling: First time Federal Direct Student Loan borrowers must receive loan counseling, the purpose of which is to explain the Stafford Loan program and student rights and responsibilities. Students will be instructed on how to satisfy this requirement with their award notice.
Completing the Master Promissory Note (MPN): First-time Federal Direct Student Loan borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note which can be done online. Click on the link above and follow the instructions. The MPN provides the convenience of completing one promissory note for all the Federal Direct Student Loans you will borrow for up to 10 years.
Federal Direct Student Loan funds generally are divided equally between semesters and are disbursed (paid) to a student by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). With EFT, loan funds are electronically transmitted from the Department of Education directly to the student’s account with the Merrill Center. Credit balances resulting from loan disbursements are refunded to the student (according to dates established by the Merrill Center), or the student may authorize the credit balance to remain on her/his account to be applied toward future charges within the same academic year.
Direct Student Loan Cancellation: If you receive a Direct Student Loan, your account will be credited with your loan proceeds. The Finances Section of your MaineStreet Student Center will show the transaction(s) as soon as it occurs. You may cancel all or a portion of your loan if you inform us within 14 days after the date that your loan proceeds are credited to your account, or by the first day of the payment period (first day of the semester), whichever is later. To cancel your loan, you must submit a signed written request to the Merrill Center.
For more information about this program, please visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
Parents of a dependent student may apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan to pay for the student’s educational expenses. Eligibility for Federal PLUS loans is not based on financial need. Parents may borrow up to the cost of education minus other financial aid the student receives.
Other characteristics of the program:
- borrower must have a good credit history
- interest rate is fixed at 5.30% for 2020-2021
- origination fee of 4.228% deducted from each disbursement made after October 1st, 2020
- maximum repayment term of 10 years, minimum payment is $50 per month
- payment of principal can be deferred, but borrower is always responsible for interest payments.
Academic Year 2020-2021
Parents who wish to apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan must have their student/s complete a 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and then the parent completes the 2020-2021 Parent PLUS loan application by visiting www.studentaid.gov. The Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan application and Master Promissory Note (MPN) are required to be completed prior to certifying and disbursing the requested loan.
Direct PLUS Loan Cancellation: If you receive a Direct PLUS Loan, your student’s account will be credited with your loan proceeds. The Finances Section of your MaineStreet Student Center will show the transaction(s) as soon as it occurs. You may cancel all or a portion of your loan if you inform us within 14 days after the date that your loan proceeds are credited to your account, or by the first day of the payment period (first day of the semester), whichever is later. To cancel your loan, you must submit a signed written request to the Merrill Center.
For more information about the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program, please visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
Sometimes standard financial aid is insufficient to cover the costs of a college education. For some students, this could mean the inability to stay in school. This situation is not optimal, but it is a reality that some students now face. Here at UMF, we recognize that students and parents may be looking for other ways to pay for college. The UMF Financial Aid Office does not sponsor or endorse any private alternative loans, but we have found information at the following FAME link to be a helpful source of information for students and parents. In addition, there is excellent available information at finaid.org.
The Federal Truth-In-Lending Act has changed the regulations necessary for borrowers to receive private educational loans. Specific adjustments include providing three detailed disclosures to the borrower throughout the loan application and approval process, obtaining a borrower self-certification form and providing a three-day right to cancel period in which the student may cancel the loan.
Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification
The borrower must submit a signed self-certification form to the lender. This form, which is completed and signed by the student, must show the student’s cost of attendance, expected family contribution, estimated financial assistance, total aid and the maximum private loan amount allowed. The self-certification form is available here or from your lender.
Students who borrow alternative loans after February 14, 2010, will receive the following disclosures during the course of the loan application process:
- At the Time the Student Applies for the Loan – This initial disclosure provides general loan rates, fees and terms including the maximum rate and maximum payment amount possible. It also contains information on the availability of federal student loans (Stafford and PLUS Loans) that may be available at lower interest rates.
- Upon Approval of the Loan – This disclosure provides specific loan information for the applicant and estimates the total repayment amount based on both the current rate (at the time of approval) and the maximum interest rate that may be charged under the loan program.
- After the Student Accepts the Loan – This final disclosure explains that a student has a three day cancellation period in which the cancel the loan. The loan funds will not be sent to the school until three business days have passed. (Some lenders have a longer cancellation period)
Regulations for Lenders Upon Acceptance of the Loan
When an alternative loan has been approved, the applicant must be given 30 days to accept the loan. During this time, the lender cannot change the rates or terms of the loan officer unless:
- changes are made based on the index to which the loan is tied
- the change is to the benefit of the borrower; or
- the change is made upon the request of the borrower.
Additional information regarding Private Alternative Loans pertinent to UMF may be found at: www.elmselect.com
- Type in school name under school search – UMF
- Compare loans and check details as needed.
- Select the lender of your choice and contact them either online or via telephone to begin the pre-approval process. We do not accept any paper applications.
- Your lender will perform a credit review. If approved, your lender will either mail you a pre-printed promissory note and self-certification that you will need to complete and return to your lender or provide you with a website where you can file electronically.
- Once we have received notification from your lender that you have been approved and have returned all the necessary paperwork, we will certify your loan. You may check at mainestreet.maine.edu or may call Merrill Center Student Services (207) 778-7100 to check on the status of your loan.
- Once the lender has received all necessary information from you and our office, they will send your loan funds to UMF.
- The funds will then be applied to your UMF account to cover expenses. If applicable, a refund check will be issued if there is a credit balance.
The list of alternative loan lenders on Elm Select has been researched carefully and compiled based on interest rates, origination fees, Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, payment of prior balance options, repayment terms and options, enrollment options, as well as other factors. The information that is provided will be reviewed and then updated every two years to give the best possible alternative loan options for students. There is no obligation for students to use the lenders listed and may apply for an alternative loan with any lender they choose. The list is available as a tool for students to start their search and a way to compare different alternative loan options. Please contact our office with any questions about your alternative loan options.
Educators for Maine is a forgivable loan program administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) for Maine students pursuing careers in education. Awards are based on academic achievement. Awards are up to $4,000 per year (total of $16,000) for full-time undergraduate students and up to $3,000 per year (total of $12,000) for graduate students. These are renewable loans that can be forgiven by teaching in a Maine public elementary or secondary school upon graduation. Otherwise, for NEW loan recipients who began in the 2020-2021 academic year, the loan would need to be repaid at a fixed rate of 4.30%. Previous borrowers, who do not receive loan forgiveness, are advised to consult their promissory note or the Finance Authority of Maine (famemaine.com; (800) 228-3734) for further details.
You may apply for this program if you are:
- Pursuing a career in education, AND
- A resident of Maine, AND
- A high school senior, GED recipient, or a college student currently enrolled in a higher education institution and are maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 grade point scale).
You may also apply for this program if you:
- Are a resident of Maine, AND
- Already hold a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 Grade point scale), AND
- Are enrolled in or applied for enrollment in a post-baccalaureate program leading to certification as a teacher, speech pathologist, or child care provider.
Applications are available in the financial Aid Office as well as through FAME. Applications must be postmarked by May 1, 2020.
UMF Code of Conduct – In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315)(HEOA), UMF is complying with the Program Participation Agreement requirement by publishing this Code of Conduct. In the HEOA, each institution that has a preferred lender arrangement for the purpose of offering FFEL or private education loans must comply with the code of conduct that is required under section 487(a)(25) of the HEA by institutions of higher education participating in the Title IV student loan programs (see Title IV-Student Assistance, Title IV programs-General, Program Participating Agreement, Code of Conduct). Although UMF does not have a preferred lender list, this code of conduct is to reinforce our commitment to maintaining the highest standards in the best interest of our educational loan borrowers.
This Code of Conduct applies to all of the officers, employees, and agents of the institution.
UMF officers, employees, and agents shall not participate in the following activities:
- revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender. The HEOA defines “revenue-sharing arrangements” as any arrangement between an institution and a Page 70 of 219- The Higher Education Opportunity Act lender under which the lender makes Title IV loans to students attending the institution (or to the families of those students), the institution recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and, in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits, including revenue or profit-sharing, to the institution or its officers, employees, or agents;
- employees of the Financial Aid Office receiving gifts from a lender, guaranty agency or loan servicer. No officer or employee of an institution’s Financial Aid Office (or an employee or agent who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans) may solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. A “gift” is defined as any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan or other item having a monetary value of more than $10 per employee in the department. However, a gift does not include (1) brochure, workshop, or training using standard materials relating to a loan, default aversion, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, workshop or training; (2) food, training, or informational material provided as part of a training session designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer if the training contributes to the professional development of the institutions Officer, employee or agent; (3) favorable terms and benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by the institution if those terms and benefits are comparable to those provided to all students at the institution; (4) entrance and exit counseling as long as the institution’s staff are in control of the counseling and the counseling does not promote the services of a specific lender; (5) philanthropic contributions from a lender, guarantor, or servicer that are unrelated to education loans or any contribution that is not made in exchange for advantage related to education loans, and; (6) State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State;
- contracting arrangements. No officer or employee of an institution’s Financial Aid Office (or employee or agent who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans) may accept from a lender, or an affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment, or other financial benefits as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans;
- steering borrowers to particular lenders or delaying loan certifications. For any first-time borrower, an institution may not assign, through the award packaging or other methods, the borrower’s loan to a particular lender. In addition, the institution may not refuse to certify, or delay the certification, of any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender guaranty agency;
- receiving offers of funds for private loans. An institution may not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds for private loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of Title IV loans made, insured or guaranteed, a specific loan volume, or a preferred lender arrangement. An “opportunity pool loan” is defined as a private education loan by a lender to a student (or the student’s family) that involves a payment by the institution to the lender of extending credit to the student;
- staffing assistance. An institution may not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing, except as permitted through The Higher Education Opportunity Act where it is allowable for a lender to provide professional development training, educational counseling materials (as long as the materials identify the lender that assisted in preparing the materials), or staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis during emergencies or disasters;
- advisory board compensation. An employee of an institution’s financial aid office (or employee who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or financial aid) who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender or guarantor (or a group of lenders or guarantors) is prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group except for reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee for serving on the board.
To satisfy the Direct Loan Entrance Loan Counseling or to complete a Master Promissory Note, click here.
To find out who services your student loans, and how to contact them, sign in using your FSA username and password at studentaid.ed.gov
Want to estimate your loan payments? Try this Loan Payment Calculator.
To find out more about UMF, including our Cohort Default Rate (CDR), click here: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
We’ve teamed up with Solutions at ECMC to answer all of your student loan repayment questions. Solutions is a service of the non-profit organization ECMC and is dedicated to helping students manage educational loans. Their resources are available to you free of charge. To contact a Solutions Student Loan Repayment Advisor, email or webchat, www.ecmcsolutions.org, or call them at 1-877-331-3262.
If you have questions, please contact us. We look forward to helping you.
Merrill Center Student Services
University of Maine at Farmington
224 Main Street
Farmington, Maine 04938
TDD/TTY 207 778-7244