Loans & Payment Options

With financial aid at Chatham, there are lots of ways to finance graduate school. Here, we go through some of them with you.

Chatham's dedicated financial aid counselors are here to help all students to understand their options in financing their education. Even after you graduate, we are still here to help you with any of your loan repayment questions.  

Are you eligible?

Students taking classes in one of Chatham’s graduate programs but not yet admitted to the program are not eligible for financial aid through the Federal Stafford Loan program. Non-Degree Seeking Students can take up to 12 credits before having to enroll in the program, at which time they become Degree-Seeking Students eligible for financial aid as noted in the paragraphs above.

International students may borrow a private non-federal loan if they are credit approved with a creditworthy United States citizen as a cosigner. 

Students enrolled in one of Chatham’s certification programs (except for the teacher certification program) are not eligible for financial aid through the Federal Stafford Loan program. However, they may be eligible for an alternative loan and should contact a financial aid counselor for more information. 

Loans & Lenders

Federal Loans are available to United States citizens and permanent residents only. In addition to a valid FAFSA students must be enrolled at least part time in a degree seeking program. Federal student loans can only be used for the completion of degree requirements. Federal loans must be repaid, even if the student does not graduate, or find employment.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to all students who have been denied or show reduced eligibility for the need-based Federal Subsidized Student Loan. The Unsubsidized Stafford loan also provides additional loan eligibility to independent students.

While repayment begins six months after graduation or cessation of at least half-time enrollment, the student can make interest payments or have the interest capitalized during in-school, grace or deferment periods. Students must file a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive these funds. You do not have to complete a separate MPN for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Your signature on the MPN will remain valid, so you will not need to complete a new MPN annually.

To complete an MPN:

  1. Go to the Federal Student Aid website and click on the green "Sign In" button in the "Manage My Direct Loan" box.
  2. To sign in, you will need to login with your FSA ID. This is the same ID you created to complete the FAFSA. Do not create a second FSA ID as the login is associated with your Social Security number.
  3. Once you have signed in, there is a 'Complete MPN' link on the left-hand main menu.
  4. As a borrower, you must also complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This is an online counseling session that ensures that you understand your rights and obligations as a borrower. From your account, click on 'Complete Entrance Counseling' on the left-hand main menu.

Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a federal loan that is available to graduate students, and can be used to cover educational expenses. In order to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you will need to log in to your account and complete a Direct Graduate PLUS loan application. The application is where you specify the dollar amount that you are applying for. This application also initiates a credit check. Once you have logged in, click on the "Request PLUS Loan" link on the left-hand main menu. You will be notified in writing of the results of the credit check by the Direct Loan Servicer. If you are credit approved for the PLUS loan, please complete the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). An MPN is a promise to repay document that must be signed before any loan funds can be disbursed. The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan MPN may be completed online by clicking on the "Complete MPN" link on the left-hand main menu and selecting "Graduate PLUS" loan type. Students may borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan up to the Cost of Attendance provided in your financial aid award letter less any other aid received, including Stafford Loans.

Entrance Counseling

Federal regulations require that all first-time Federal Direct Loan borrowers at Chatham University complete an Entrance Counseling Session. The purpose of this session is to inform all borrowers of their rights and responsibilities as a federal student loan borrower. This process, in addition to a completed Master Promissory Note (MPN), must be completed before your student loan can be credited to your account. Please complete this requirement promptly to avoid processing delays.

To complete your Entrance Counseling Session:

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website
  • Click on the "Log In" button
  • Sign in with the requested information
  • Click on the "Complete Counseling" link
  • Choose "Entrance Counseling" and follow the prompts

Please be sure that you also complete your Master Promissory Note (MPN):

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website
  • Click on the "Log In" button
  • Sign in with the requested information
  • Click on the "Complete Master Promissory Note" link
  • Complete your MPN for the loan type that you need (Subsidized/Unsubsidized or PLUS)
  • Please note that if you are a parent completing this for a PLUS loan, you must sign in with your FSA user ID.

Exit Counseling

Federal regulations require that anyone who has borrowed a Federal Direct Loan at Chatham University complete an Exit Counseling Session. The purpose of this session is to inform all federal student loan borrowers of their loan repayment rights and responsibilities. This is required anytime that your enrollment is less than half-time, you graduate or withdraw from the University.

To complete your Exit Counseling Session:

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website
  • Click on the "Log In" button
  • Sign in with the requested information
  • Click on the "Complete Counseling" link
  • Choose "Exit Counseling" and follow the prompts

After exhausting the opportunities available from the federal aid programs, many students will consider private loan programs as a source of funding. As always, taking on debt for any reason should be done deliberately and only for the amounts needed. Additional information regarding the availability of federal student aid is available from the Department of Education publication, Federal Aid First.

The terms and conditions of these credit-based private loan programs vary, and as such, students are encouraged to review the details of the programs before selecting a private loan program. Private loans are not eligible for loan consolidation programs made available for federal student loans. Interest rates, fees (both at the time of borrowing and at repayment), credit checks, and annual and aggregate loan limits require careful evaluation by the student as a consumer.

As part of the application process, students will be required to complete the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form available through their lender's website or by downloading the PDF form here. Information needed to complete this form, such as cost of attendance, may be obtained here, while estimated financial assistance may be obtained from the student’s Financial Aid Award Letter.

How to Choose a Private Lender

Getting Started

Private loans are funded through a lender, and choosing a lender is an important decision - it involves a financial obligation that will be a part of your life for many years to come. Picking a lender can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. You may choose any educational loan lender you prefer. Remember to always take advantage of your federal loan options first.

Below is a historical list of lenders who continue to participate in the private loan program and who within the last three years Chatham University students have used. The University does not endorse any lender. You may choose any educational loan lender you prefer.

Historical Lender List

Be Financial-Aid-Savvy and Do Your Research

Before you apply for the loan you will want to make sure you have done your research. Here are loan term definitions you should know before applying:

  • Master promissory note: This is the agreement between you and the lender that you will re-pay the money when you graduate or fall below part time status. This is a legal contract. Please keep a copy for your records.
  • Interest rate: The interest rate for the Stafford loan, Perkins loan and Plus loans are fixed. For a private loan the interest rate will vary. While you may see a low interest rate on a lender's website keep in mind that the low interest rate may depend on qualifying for the lender's benefit program.
  • Loan fees: Some lenders will charge you an origination fee to use them as a lender while others will not. Remember that no origination fees do not save you any money in repayment, but you will receive more money up front.
  • Interest rate reductions for using automatic payments: Some lenders will reduce your interest rate if you repay your loan through pre-scheduled automatic bank debits. Although the reduction in interest rate varies, the reduction is typically 0.25%.
  • Libor: A term used for private student loans. This is the 3-month average of the London Interbank Offered Rate. LIBOR is the average interest rate paid on deposits of US dollars in the London market. APR - the Annual Percentage Rate, a rate that factors in the interest rate, fees, and other terms.
  • Prime: The Prime Lending Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal. This is the rate banks charge their most creditworthy customers.
  • Loan limits: The aggregate loan limit for the Stafford loan is specific to the type of student you are. For private loans, the aggregate limit is based on each lender's terms. This is the maximum you can borrow per year, as well as your entire time in school.
  • Repayment terms: This is the amount of time you have to pay back the loan.
  • Postponement options: If you need to postpone making payments, you can take advantage of deferment and forbearance options. Call your lender to learn more.

Know What Questions to Ask and What to Look For

Some questions you may want to ask are:

  1. How often do you capitalize interest during postponement periods?
  2. What are your repayment benefits? What percent of borrowers receive these benefits?
  3. What do I have to do to receive these benefits and how are the benefits lost?
  4. If I borrow $10,000 over my college