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On average, college graduates earn $1 million more in earnings over their lifetime than high school graduates. Though we realize that it can be daunting to think about borrowing money to attend college, the financial benefits of a college degree are clear. And loans can be an important part of funding your undergraduate or graduate education. More than 70% of all college undergraduates use loans to help them attain their educational goals, and when taken responsibly, loans can be a helpful tool in financial planning.

Professor interacting with students in Budapest classroom.

Federal Loans

The first step in acquiring federal loans (including federal Parent PLUS Loans) is completing the FAFSA. Once submitted, your loan eligibility will be determined.

Student Loans

Students can take out federal student loans from the Direct Loans program. Direct Loans offer a low, fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. Eligible undergraduates may receive federal direct subsidized interest loans, which means interest does not accrue while the student is enrolled in college. A loan origination fee is deducted from the federal loan amount before the funds are sent to the school.

There are two types of Federal Direct Loans:

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans (undergraduate only)

  • Available to undergraduates with demonstrated financial need
  • Federal government pays the interest while in school, during the grace period, and during periods of authorized deferment

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

  • Available to undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of financial need
  • Student pays all interest that accrues

Federal Direct Loan benefits:

  • Fixed interest rate
  • No payments while enrolled in school at least a half-time and during the 6-month grace period
  • Eligibility not based on credit

Parent PLUS Loans

Parents of dependent undergraduate students borrow the federal Parent PLUS Loan to help their children pay for college. The federal Parent PLUS Loan offers a fixed interest rate and flexible loan limits.

The federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan offers a fixed interest rate and flexible loan limits. To be eligible, a parent can’t have an adverse credit history. Federal Parent PLUS Loans have a  origination fee that is assessed.

Graduate PLUS Loan

The federal Grad PLUS Loan is a federal student loan available to students attending graduate school and professional school. The federal Grad PLUS Loan offers a fixed interest rate and flexible loan limits. To be eligible, a student can’t have an adverse credit history. A loan origination fee is deducted from the loan amount before the funds are sent to the school.

The Grad PLUS Loan allows you to borrow up to the full annual cost of attendance (COA) minus other financial aid received (scholarships, fellowships, grants, federal student loans, private student loans). There is no aggregate (cumulative) loan limit.

Key benefits of the Grad PLUS Loan:

  • The interest rate is fixed
  • Loan payments can be deferred while you are enrolled on at least a half-time basis at an accredited graduate school or professional school
  • A cosigner is not required
  • Multiple repayment plans (including income-based) available
  • The interest paid on the loan may be tax deductible

Alternative Loans

You have the freedom to borrow from any lender of your choice; you're not restricted to this list. To apply for a private loan not listed, you should apply directly with that lender. As part of your application, your lender will require you to complete a Private Loan Self-Certification Form. This form will be provided by your lender. Or you can access it here:

After school certification, it takes approximately 7-10 business days to receive the funds. We recommend applying about 60 days prior to the requested semester. Applying earlier might risk your credit check expiring before processing, while applying late could lead to disbursement delays.

McDaniel College adheres to its Student Lending Policy.

Selecting a Private Loan Lender can be difficult. McDaniel College offers a tool called FAST Choice, enabling you to compare and research terms and conditions from various lenders before applying for a private loan. The list features the most utilized lenders at McDaniel College in the past year. These lenders provide competitive products, excellent customer service, inclusivity, online processing, and the ability to handle disbursements and refunds via electronic funds transfer (EFT) through Great Lakes, ensuring timely fund distribution. Lenders also use Great Lakes to provide detailed loan record information to McDaniel College for accurate account details. This list is evaluated annually. You can choose any lender; you're not limited to this list.

Private/Alternative loans are not subsidized by the government and are subject to lender approval, including a credit check. Private loans should be considered only after exhausting all other available financing options. We encourage all students to complete the FAFSA to explore Federal and State aid programs that might offer more favorable terms than private education loans.

Lender disclosures for those on McDaniel College's preferred lender list can be found in FAST Choice. Individual lender disclosures are accessible by selecting one or more lenders in FAST Choice, then choosing "compare." Please see the link to the lender list below.