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Types of Financial Aid

In addition to AFI Scholarships, the AFI Conservatory offers federal and private education loans to help Fellows finance their education at the Conservatory.  Fellows may be able to meet their full cost of attendance with federal or private education loans.

Federal student loans are available to domestic Fellows who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. To qualify for federal financial aid, domestic Fellows must:

  • Be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens (permanent residents)
  • Possess a valid social security number
  • Be registered with the selective service, if applicable
  • Not be in default on a federal loan or owe an overpayment on a Federal Pell Grant

Federal student loans are not need-based and are available to students regardless of income. The two types of loans available are as follows:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (credit approval is required)


The section below provides details about both the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based and generally available to all domestic Fellows. Interest accrues on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan as soon as the first disbursement is made to the school. Fellows may opt to pay the interest while in school or allow the interest to capitalize and then begin to pay interest and principal when repayment begins after you leave school.

Direct Loan Amounts
The maximum eligibility for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan for graduate students is $20,500 per academic year.

Loan Fees
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is subject to a loan origination fee of 1.062%, which is deducted by the federal government before the loan is disbursed to the school. Fellows must repay the total amount of the loan, including the origination fee, plus interest, upon leaving school.

Interest Rates
Interest rates are set by the federal government eevery July 1 for the upcoming academic year. The interest rate for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 and before July 1, 2021 is 5.30%.

Graduate students have an additional federal loan option to assist them with the costs of a graduate education. Graduate students may borrow a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to cover their cost of attendance less the amount of their Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and any other financial aid, including scholarships. The Federal Gradute PLUS Loan requires credit approval or an endorser with good credit.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan will accrue interest as soon as the first disbursement is made to the school. There is no grace period for repayment of a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

Loan Fees
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is subject to a loan origination fee of 4.24%. Borrowers must repay the total loan amount, including the origination fees, plus interest.

Interest Rate
The interest rate on Federal Graduate PLUS Loan disbursed between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 is 5.30%.

Fellows will have a six month grace period before loan repayment begins on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.  There is no grace period on the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.There are several repayment options available to borrowers.  For complete information on student loan repayment, visit  To calculate an estimate of your student loan payment and various repayment options visit

Tracking Your Federal Student Loans
Fellows are encouraged to track and monitor their student loans using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) (, a centralized data base of borrowers’ federal loan history and interest rates.

FSA Ombudsman
The Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman ( is available to assist federal loan borrowers resolve disputes regarding their loans. While the Ombudsman cannot reverse a decision made by another party, they will assist borrowers with a neutral third-party position that can recommend solutions. If they determine that you have been treated unfairly, they will work on your behalf to fix the problem with other agencies.

Private Education Loans are available to both domestic and international Fellows. Private loans are offered through banks, credit unions and student loan companies. In most cases, private education loans require a co-signer.

Three private education loans most frequently borrowed by AFI Fellows are

Fellows are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the different financial aid options. The Loan Comparison Chart provides important information about the difference between federal and private education loans.