Student Loans: Uncovered

I signed my life away this week and asked the government to loan me a five-figure amount for the first two semesters of my DPT program.  *cue aneurysm*  With the gracious help of my parents for an undergraduate education, I will be paying my own way for my Doctoral degree.  With endless lending options and benefits explained in jargon that sounds similar to a foreign language to me, I have done my share of student loan research.

Here’s what I learned:

  • All graduate students qualify for Direct Unsubsidized loans through the government: up to $20,500 per academic year.
    • origination fee of 1.068%
      • i.e on every $1,000 borrowed you are charged $10.68
    • fixed annual interest rate of 5.31%
  • Any additional aid needed up to the total cost of attendance can be requested through a Graduate PLUS loan through the government, or through a private lender.
    • Graduate PLUS
      • origination fee of 4.272%
      • fixed interest rate of 6.31%
      • credit check required
    • Private lenders
      • no origination fees
      • varying interest rates based on credit score can be fixed or variable

In the end, I chose to borrow the remaining amount not covered by the Direct Unsubsidized Loan via a Graduate PLUS Loan.  I could have gone with a private lender because I do have a high credit score and most likely would have been approved for a lower interest rate, but the main reason I chose PLUS lies in a little program called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.  If you work for a government organization or non-profit and make the minimum payment on your loans for ten years, the rest of the loan will be forgiven!  I am very interested in being a school physical therapist, so it was important to me to keep that door open in the case I do end up working for a non-profit or government organization.

I hope I was able to provide some insight on the endless possibilities for student loans!

Check back later this week for my back-to-school shopping list!


Keep On Dreaming,



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