A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest. Interest is a loan expense charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is paid by a borrower to a lender. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount of the loan.
If you decide to take out a loan, make sure you understand who is making the loan and the terms and conditions of the loan. Student loans can come from the federal government, from private sources such as a bank or financial institution, or from other organizations. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually have more benefits than loans from banks or other private sources. Learn more about the difference between federal loans and private loans.
Federal student loans are low-interest loans that require repayment after you are no longer enrolled in college. Federal student loans offer a variety of repayment plans to incorporate into your short- and long-term financial goals. Private loans are also an option, but typically have higher interest rates and fewer repayment options.
Portland State University awards federal student loans based on your FAFSA and grade level at PSU. Federal student loans are low-interest loans that require repayment after you are no longer enrolled at PSU. Loans can help you to cover the difference between your grants, scholarships, and personal financial resources and what you need to pay for college. Federal student loans offer a variety of repayment plans to incorporate into your short- and long-term financial goals.
Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans
Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are federal student loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education. The difference between a Direct Subsidized and a Direct Unsubsidized Loan is that the federal government pays the interest for Direct Subsidized Loans while the student is in college or while the loan is in deferment. Interest begins accruing for Direct Unsubsidized Loans as soon as the loan is taken out.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
Parents can borrow a Direct PLUS Loan for their undergraduate students. The parent PLUS loan has a fixed interest rate. For parents to be eligible to borrow this loan, students are required to complete a FAFSA and be enrolled at least halftime (6+ credit hours). Parents must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen and pass a credit check.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Graduate students may borrow a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan from the federal government. The Graduate PLUS loan is a fixed interest rate federal loan for graduate and professional students in an eligible program. The student must exhaust their Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility before they are eligible to borrow a Direct Graduate Plus Loan. To be eligible for this loan, graduate students must be enrolled at least halftime (5+ credit hours), have submitted a FAFSA, be awarded Federal Stafford loans, be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen and pass a credit check.
Many students and parents consider private loan programs as a source of funding after exhausting all opportunities available from federal and state aid programs. Taking on debt for any reason should be done deliberately and only for the amount necessary. If you plan to borrow a Private Educational Loan, you should make an informed decision. We offer a FASTChoice tool to learn about your private education loan options.
Manage Your Loans
Navigate the student loan repayment process based on where you are in the process. Whether you're an incoming student or you've graduated or left school, you'll need to know and understand your next steps and studentaid.gov is your best resource.