When determining how to pay for your education, it may be necessary to supplement your other financial aid with education loans. Direct Stafford Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized, are the student's first choice in borrowing (see Federal Direct Stafford Loans).
Once you have reached your annual Direct Stafford Loan limit, there are two additional types of education loans from which to choose:
- Federal PLUS Loan (for parents of dependent undergraduate students
or graduate students)
- Alternative/Private Student Loan (usually available to students
Both loan types are credit-based and must be approved.
Recommended Amount for Credit-Based Loans
The amount that you see in the Financial Aid Checklist under the Award Overview tab is the maximum amount of Parent PLUS and/or private student loans that you may request. You may apply to your lender for less depending on the student's needs. You may also contact our office if you would like to reduce the amount you requested before the loan disburses.
When deciding how much to borrow to help pay for educational expenses, please consider the following:
Direct and Indirect Costs
A student's total cost of attendance is based on direct and indirect costs.
Indirect costs would not be paid to FIT directly, but would include estimated expenses such as transportation, books and supplies, off-campus housing, and personal expenses.
You may log into your MyFIT account to see the items in your estimated cost of attendance. It is found under your My Financial Aid Award Overview.
If you would like to determine your own costs, you may sign up for a free membership on $ALT. Their calculator helps students to compare the cost of living at home, living on-campus or living off campus: www.saltmoney.org/calculators/should-you-live-at-home-on-campus-or-off-campus.
Once you have an estimate of your cost of attendance, it is time to determine how much you may need to borrow and which type of loan will be best for you.
It is suggested that students borrow no more than the equivalent of one years entry level salary for their entire education. Here is another $ALT calculator to help you determine how much you can afford to repay: www.saltmoney.org/calculators/can-you-afford-to-repay-your-student-loans. ($ALT membership is free.) Here are a few sites to research salaries:
For parents borrowing for a student, it is suggested that you borrow no more than you can repay within 10 years or before you retire.
We recommend that students exhaust all aid alternatives including grants, scholarships and federal Stafford loans prior to applying for PLUS or private loans. To help you understand the differences that exist between student loan types, we have provided a link to our chart Higher Education Loans Comparison. In addition we have included a list of "Questions to Ask the Lender" and a "Comparison Tool" for you to use.