Types of Financial Aid

FEDERAL DIRECT LOANS 

The AFI Conservatory participates in the Federal Direct Loan program. These student loans are backed by the federal government and administered by the AFI Financial Aid Office. Federal loans are available to students regardless of income. 

Student loans allow you to defer some of the costs of attendance until you have either completed or left the program. These loans must be repaid, including interest and all applicable fees. 

Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not awarded on the basis of financial need. The government does not pay the interest on this type of loan at any time. You will be responsible for interest on your loan at all times. You have the option of paying the interest while in school or having the interest accrue while you’re in school to pay it later. If you choose to pay it later, it will be capitalized (usually once at the time of repayment) and the Department of Education will add the accumulated interest to the principal balance of your loan. Additional interest will then be based upon the combination of your original principal balance and the accrued interest.

Direct Loan Amounts
The amount of Direct Loans that you may receive will depend on your prior educational experience. If you have a bachelor’s degree, or if you have completed at least three years of undergraduate study, you will be eligible for graduate level loans at the Conservatory. The maximum annual Direct Loan for 2020-2021 is $20,500.

For those admitted without at least three years of undergraduate study completed, annual loan limits will be less, and loan terms, as well as loan amounts, will vary based upon the amount of undergraduate coursework completed. 

Loan Fees
For loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018 and before October 1, 2019, a Federal Direct Loan is subject to a loan origination fee of 1.062%. For loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2019, and before October 1, 2020 a Federal Direct Loan is subject to a loan origination fee of 1.059%. The entire loan amount, including deducted fees, must be repaid by the borrower.

Interest Rates
Interest rates for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019 and before July 1, 2020 have a 6.08% interest rate.

Repaying Your Loan
Federal Student Loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including but not limited to, income-based repayment and income contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits which other students loans are not required to do.

Deferment: 
If you qualify for one, a deferment is a right as a borrower. A deferment allows you to postpone your loan payments for a specific period of time. During a deferment, you will not be charged interest on a subsidized loan. However, interest will accrue during a deferment for unsubsidized loans. You must apply for a deferment and be approved for it before your payments will be postponed.

The following outlines your deferment options for loans disbursed after July 1, 1993:  

Deferment Reason  Limited to: 
Enrolled, at least half time, at a postsecondary school  Unlimited 
Unable to find full-time employment   Six-month period with a maximum of six periods 
Economic hardship  Twelve-month period with a maximum of three periods 

Forbearance
A forbearance is an option granted to you at the discretion of your student loan lender or holder. You may apply for a forbearance to temporarily postpone or reduce your monthly payments if you are experiencing temporary financial difficulties. The terms of a forbearance are on a case-by-case basis and are arranged specifically for you by your student loan lender or holder. A forbearance may result in an increased monthly payment upon resuming regular payments. 

Tracking Your Loans
The Department of Education has created a central database for student aid called the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) (nslds.ed.gov). NSLDS takes information from schools, lenders and guarantee agencies on a regular basis to provide the most up-to-date information for you. Using your federal PIN, you are able to access your student aid records and track your federal loans after disbursement.  

FSA Ombudsman
The Department of Education created a Federal Student Aid (FSA) (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/disputes/prepare/contact-ombudsman) Ombudsman 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.  

FEDERAL DIRECT GRADUATE PLUS LOAN  

Graduate students have an additional federal loan option to assist them with the costs of a graduate education. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan allows graduate students to take advantage of what was formerly a loan specifically for parents of undergraduate students. Now, graduate students who pass a credit check may borrow a PLUS loan under their own signature for their graduate education costs. Graduate students may borrow a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to cover their cost of attendance less the amount of their Federal Direct Loans and any other financial assistance offered from any other source. Federal loans are available to students regardless of income. 

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan allows you to defer some of the costs of attendance until you have either completed or left the program. These loans must be repaid, including interest and all applicable fees. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is unsubsidized; you will be responsible for the interest, which starts accruing during your period of enrollment. There is no grace period for repayment of a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. You will be eligible for an in-school deferment while you are enrolled at least half-time, but will enter repayment sooner than under the Federal Direct Loan program. 

Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Amount
If you have a prior bachelor’s degree, or if you have completed at least three years of undergraduate study, you will be eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. For those admitted without at least three years of undergraduate study completed, you will not be eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and should instead look at your private loan options.

If eligible for the program, your maximum Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility is equal to your cost of attendance budget less your Federal Direct Loans and any other financial assistance offered to you from any other source. 

Loan Fees
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is subject to a mandatory loan origination fee of 4.236%.

Interest Rate
The interest rate on Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is 7.6% if first disbursed between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019. The interest rate on Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is 7.08% if first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019, and before July 1, 2020.

Repaying Your Loan
Federal Student Loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including but not limited to, income-based repayment and income contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits which other students loans are not required to do.

Forbearance
A forbearance is an option granted to you at the discretion of your student loan holder. You may apply for a forbearance to temporarily postpone or reduce your monthly payments if you are experiencing temporary financial difficulties. The terms of a forbearance are on a case-by-case basis and are arranged specifically for you by your student loan holder. A forbearance may result in an increased monthly payment upon resuming regular payments.

Tracking Your Loans
The Department of Education has created a central database for student aid called the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) (nslds.ed.gov). NSLDS takes information from schools, lenders and guarantee agencies on a regular basis to provide the most up-to-date information for you. Using your FSA ID, you are able to access your student aid records and track your federal loans after disbursement. 

FSA Ombudsman
The Department of Education created a Federal Student Aid (FSA) (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/disputes/prepare/contact-ombudsman) Ombudsman 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.  

FINANCIAL AID LINKS  

  • Access and complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Obtain a FSA ID. Corrections can be submitted to your processed FAFSA using your FSA ID at FAFSA on the Web.
  • Complete required entrance counseling, federal master promissory notes, Federal Grad PLUS Loan credit checks, and required exit counseling at Studentloans.gov.
  • National Student Loan Data System is where students can see their loans and view a history of the federal student financial aid you have received using your FSA PIN.

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