Navigating the borrowing process

Loans are a reality for most students, and we will help you navigate the borrowing process from application to repayment. We encourage you to be a responsible consumer and to borrow only what is necessary. We urge you to seek advice from our Student Financial Services team whenever needed.

Keep in mind that with loans, lenders often deduct loan fees before monies are disbursed, which can impact the amount you need to borrow. You should calculate loan fees prior to finalizing loan requests. Please see Federal Loan Fees for more information.

Repaying Your Loans

Be sure you're in touch with your Loan Servicer at all times throughout your years of borrowing. It is even wise to pay interest while you're in school, if at all possible, on any loans that are accruing interest (i.e. every loan EXCEPT the Direct Subsidized Loan). Once you're ready to leave school, we recommend using the Repayment Estimator to determine which is the best loan repayment option for you. Note: You may switch plans as your income situation changes. Just realize this — the longer you take to repay your loans, the more they will cost you.

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers low-interest loans to eligible students to help cover the cost of college. Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are available depending upon your financial need and enrollment status. For both types of loans, UNE will determine the amount you can borrow based on your Cost of Attendance and annual limits. Visit the Federal Student Aid website for information on loan borrowing limits and on the current interest rates for Direct Loans.

Direct Subsidized Loan

The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on the Direct Subsidized Loan while you are in school, as well as during your grace period or elected deferment period. This loan is available to students demonstrating financial need.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is available to all students regardless of need. Interest accrues from the date of disbursement.

To apply for Federal Direct Loans you must file the FAFSA. As a first-time federal direct loan borrower, you will need to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Complete Entrance Counseling which will provide information about terms of borrowing, interest accrual, and repayment options These requirements can all be completed online. For all Federal Loans, you will also need to complete Exit Loan Counseling when you are no longer enrolled at least half-time.

All pertinent information regarding Title IV, HEA federal loans, including Direct Loans, will be submitted to NSLDS and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.

Educators for Maine Program

This program is a competitive, merit-based, forgivable loan program for Maine students pursuing careers in teaching, including speech pathology and child development or childcare. The application is available in February on the FAME website and is due May 1.

Federal Parent PLUS Loan

The Federal Parent PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan, subject to credit approval by the lender, for parents who wish to contribute to their dependent child’s college education. PLUS loans help pay for expenses up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus all other financial assistance. The application is available online and parents will need the FAFSA ID to apply. If you wish for the PLUS Loan to cover origination fees, please let us know so we can adjust the COA accordingly.

If credit is denied for the PLUS Loan, your parents can pursue an endorser, appeal the denial, or request additional unsubsidized funding of up to $4,000 or $5,000 based on your year in school. The request for this additional funding must be sent in an email to the Financial Aid Office or parents can select this option via the online application.

Alternative Loans

Because of the flexible and forgiving nature of federal, state, and institutional aid, we recommend that you exhaust all of these sources before applying for private or alternative loans. Alternative loans are privately-funded loans available to students who qualify based on their credit history. The terms and conditions of alternative loans vary based on the loan program and lender criteria. You may request an amount up to your Cost of Attendance minus all other financial aid.

Selecting an Alternative Loan Program

If you are new to borrowing an alternative loan, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with each program before making a selection. Please contact the lender for the most up to date information. If your previous lender is not listed, and you wish to continue to use this lender for your alternative loan needs, please contact your lender.

Consider asking the following questions:

  • Is a co-signer required? Does the lender offer a co-signer release option after a certain number of on-time payments?
  • What is the interest rate? Does the lender offer fixed and variable rates? Is there a cap?
  • Does the lender charge fees, either up front or at the back end?
  • Will the lender sell the loan to another company?
  • Does the lender offer flexible repayment options?
  • Does the lender offer any repayment incentives?
  • Does the lender offer deferments if continuing on to graduate school? If yes, is there a limit to the number of years it can be deferred?

See UNE’s Recommended Lender site for a loan comparison tool and more information on your private loan options.