Student Loans

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) administers several loan programs to help ensure that all eligible admitted students are able to cover the cost of tuition at SAIC. Eligibility for federal programs is based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. In addition, the Federal Direct PLUS and Private loan programs require that the borrower is creditworthy or has a creditworthy endorser (cosigner). Details on federal loans including interest rates and loan processing fees are available on the Department of Education's Student Aid Loan website

Federal Student Loans-Basics for Students [PDF]

Federal Student Loans-Basics for Parents [PDF]

Loan Application Deadlines and General Details—All loans steps should be completed by July 1 before each fall-spring (traditional academic year) and by January 1 for spring only (one semester only). Borrowers must re-apply for Federal Direct PLUS and private loans each year or term that the loan is desired. Per federal law, all federal loans must be certified by the last day of the semester that the student is enrolled, so borrowers are asked to complete all federal loans steps at least five business days before the last day of the student's enrolled term for processing purposes. Federal Direct Stafford normally are required one-time while at SAIC. For further details on loan steps and deadlines visit the SAIC Loan Instructions.

Here are some of the student loan options available to you as an SAIC student.

Maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan Amounts (per year)

Class Credits Earned Subsidized Dependent/ Independent Unsubsidized Dependent** Unsubsidized Independent
FRESHMAN (0-29) $3,500 $2,000 $6,000
SOPHOMORE (30-59) $4,500 $2,000 $6,000
JUNIOR & SENIOR (60+) $5,500 $2,000 $7,000
POST-BACCALAUREATE   $5,500 $2,000 $7,000
GRADUATE   NA NA $20,500

Please note: All students have a total or aggregate limit for borrowing Federal Direct Stafford Loans over the course of their entire education.

**If a parent is denied a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, SAIC can award an additional unsubsidized loan. For freshman and sophomore students, this eligibility is $4,000 and for junior and senior students it is $5,000. See the Federal Direct PLUS Program section below for more information on Federal Direct PLUS Loans.

Federal Direct Stafford Aggregate Loan Limits
Dependent Undergraduate Student $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized)
Independent Undergraduate Student or Dependent Student Whose Parent is Ineligible for PLUS $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized)
Graduate/Professional Student $138,500 (no more than $65,000 of which can be subsidized)
 

This program offers undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students low-interest, fixed rate loans. Interest begins accruing after the student drops below half-time enrollment or graduates and repayment begins six months after that. For more information visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Eligibility:
To be eligible for a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Student Loan, an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate degree-seeking student must be enrolled at least half-time and demonstrate financial need on the federal FAFSA form.

Annual award amount:
The award amount is the lesser of $5,500 or the determined amount of financial need based on the student's academic level. An origination fee of up to 1.073 percent of the loan amount may be deducted up front from the funds. Repayment begins after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

This program offers students a low-interest, fixed rate loans. Interest begins accruing upon disbursement and must be paid quarterly though it can be added to the principal of the loan. Repayment begins six months after the student drops below half-time enrollment or graduates. 
For more information visit the US Department of Education website.

Eligibility:
This program is available to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students. To be eligible, a degree-seeking student must be enrolled at least half-time and complete the annual federal FAFSA form.

Annual award amount:
The max award amount is up to $7,500 for dependent undergraduate students minus subsidized eligibility based on the student's academic level and $12,500 for independent undergraduates or dependent student's whose parent has been denied a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan minus subsidized eligibility based on the student's academic level. The award amount for graduate students is up to $20,500. An origination fee of up to 1.073 percent of the loan amount may be deducted up front from the funds. Repayment begins after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Loans plus other aid cannot exceed the estimated cost of an education.

This program offers additional federal loan funds for graduate students or parents of dependent, undergraduate students (including biological or adoptive parents and legal guardians). For graduate borrowers, loans disbursed are placed in deferment and repayment does not begin until six months after the student is no longer enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Parent borrowers may choose to begin repayment 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed to their student's account or request a deferment while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

Eligibility
A request for a Direct PLUS Loan must be completed at StudentLoans.gov for each award year the loans are desired and for each individual loan within an award year. Approval is based on credit. The student for whom the loan is borrowed must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis for the period which the loan is borrowed. Post-baccalaureate students are not eligible for this loan.

Award Amount
Graduate students or parents may borrow up to the cost of education minus available financial aid, including scholarships, grants, other loans, and student employment for which the student is eligible for each award year. An origination fee will may be deducted up front from the funds. Repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement of the loan unless the borrower obtains a forbearance or deferment.

Direct PLUS Loans are federal loans that graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college or career school.  PLUS loans can help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.  For more information visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Note: A Direct PLUS Loan is commonly referred to as a parent PLUS loan when made to a parent, and as a grad PLUS loan when made to a graduate or professional student.

Eligibility:

The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible parents and graduate or professional students through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program.  Note: Before applying, make sure you or your child have already filled out the federal FAFSA form.

(Credit Approval Required)

Re-apply for each loan as needed by completing step 1 only

Complete these steps at StudentLoans.gov:

Step 1.  Complete an online PLUS Request

Step 2.  If credit-approved, complete an online Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (eMPN)

Step 3.  An online Entrance Counseling Session for:

-Graduate student borrowers (Post-Baccalaureate programs are not eligible)

-Parent borrowers who have been denied and are later approved by obtaining an endorser or an appeal to the U.S. Department of Education by documenting extenuating circumstances related to their adverse credit history

 

Per federal regulations, if a parent of a dependent undergraduate student is denied a Federal Direct PLUS Loan due to adverse credit history, SAIC will automatically award additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan (up to $4,000 for freshman/sophomores or up to $5,000 for juniors/seniors) to the student.  The parent borrower may choose to appeal the credit decision with the Department of Education or pursue a creditworthy endorser.  If the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is then approved, the additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan may be reversed/cancel.  If approved by these options, remember to compete Step 3 in the Federal Direct PLUS process above.

A denial of your Federal Direct PLUS Loan application may not be the end of your eligibility to borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan.  You are able to continue to pursue your eligibility through the following three options:

Request your credit decision to be reviewed/evaluated by a Direct Loan Origination Center Staff Person.

When borrowers first apply for a Federal Direct PLUS loan, an automated credit check is conducted.  Sometimes a staff person at the Direct Loan Origination Center can review the decision by a phone request to consider approval by conducting a deeper inquiry and rule out some less significant listings that are considered adverse.  Call the Federal Loan Origination Center at 800.557.7394 to request this review and discuss options.

2.  Resubmit your application with an eligible credit-worthy endorser (co-signer).

You may add an endorser to your Federal Direct PLUS Loan application.  An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if primary borrower does not repay it.  Please contact the Federal Loan Origination Center at 800.557.7394 for assistance with the endorser process.

3.  Submit a request for an appeal of your PLUS Loan credit decision with the US Department of Education if you believe there are documented extenuating circumstances not reflected in your credit history.

                1.  Call the Federal Loan Origination Center at 800.557.7394 or

                2.  Login to StudentLoans.gov

                3.  Select the Document Extenuating Circumstances link under the PLUS Loan Process section on the menu on the left side of the page.

                4.  Follow the instructions provided to complete the appeal process.

                5.  After completing your request for an appeal online, you should receive a call from a representative at the Federal Loan Origination Center within three business days to discuss your request.  If you do not receive a call, you may contact the Federal Loan origination Center directly to discuss the status of your request.

 

If you qualify for a Federal Direct PLUS loan by obtaining an endorser or by documenting to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history you’ll also be required to complete PLUS counseling before you can receive a Direct PLUS Loan.

 

If you apply for a Direct PLUS Loan and are notified that you have an adverse credit history, the U.S. Department of Education will provide you with detailed information on the options for qualifying by obtaining an endorser or submitting documentation of extenuating circumstances, along with instructions on how to complete the required PLUS counseling.

Due to federal and state legislation, loan terms, interest rates and conditions are subject to change.

Questions? Contact a SFS Advisor at 312.629.6600 or email us at saic.sfs@saic.edu

Private education loans are offered by private lenders and are available to students to assist with their educational and living expenses in addition to the Federal Stafford, and PLUS loans. These loans should only be used as a final choice and are not recommended to students and families unless the Federal PLUS is not an option, especially in the case of graduate students. Additional Information that students and families may find helpful in understanding the private loan process may be found at finaid.org.

Eligibility: 
Any student applying for a private educational loan must first complete a separate application and pass a credit approval with their chosen lender. Private educational loans will be included as a resource in your financial aid package.

Award amount: 
Students may borrow up to the estimated cost of their education minus other aid.

2019–20 Interest Rates
Direct Loans Disbursed July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020
Loan Type Borrower Type Fixed Interest Rate
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Undergraduate Students 4.53%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Graduate or Professional Students 6.08%
Direct PLUS Loans Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students 7.08%

 

Federal Direct Loan Fees
Loan Program Fees for Loans Disbursed on or After October 1, 2018 and Before October 1, 2019 Fees for Loans Disbursed on or After October 1, 2019 and Before October 1, 2020
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans 1.062% 1.059%
Direct Parent PLUS Loans 4.248% 4.236%
Direct Graduate PLUS Loans 4.248% 4.236%