Federal Student Loans, Private Loans, and Other Financial Options

There are a variety of financing options available to attend Elms College. Students and their families may make use of federal loans, private loans, and payment plans.

Federal student loans offer a comparatively low, fixed interest rate when borrowing to help pay a student’s cost of attendance.  To receive any kind of federal student loan, students must first complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Federal student loans include the Subsidized/Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan, as well as the Parent PLUS Loan.  Information concerning these loans and their repayment can be found at studentaid.gov.

Federal Direct Student Loans (FDSL)

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans

All federal direct student loans are subject to an origination fee equal to a percentage of the amount borrowed.  The fee is withheld from the total amount borrowed when the loan is disbursed to the school.

For example, if a student were to borrow $100 from a loan program with a 1% origination fee, then $100 would be borrowed and owed back as the loan principal but only $99 would be paid on the student’s behalf.

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (before October 1, 2020): 1.059% loan origination fee. Direct PLUS Loans (before October 1, 2020): 4.236% loan origination fee.

The following chart shows the annual and aggregate loan limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans:

Annual Borrowing Limits on Federal Direct Loans for Dependent Students
Base EligibilityAdditional Unsubsidized EligibilityTotal Student Loan EligibilityAdditional Unsubsidized Loan*
Freshman$3,500$2,000$5,500$4,000
Sophomore$4,500$2,000$6,500$4,000
Junior/Senior$5,500$2,000$7,500$5,000

*Additional unsubsidized loan eligibility is only available if a parent has been denied the PLUS loan for dependent students.

Aggregate (Lifetime) Borrowing Limits
Maximum SubsidizedMaximum Subsidized and Unsubsidized (Combined)
Dependent Student$23,000$31,000
Independent Student$23,000$57,500

In order to receive federal financial aid, students must meet the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress, or SAP, as defined by the college. For information regarding SAP please review the Undergraduate Catalog.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students enrolled with at least half-time student status (6 credits or more) in a degree seeking program. Eligibility is determined by a student’s demonstrated financial need as calculated through the FAFSA. While enrolled with half-time student status or greater or during periods of deferment, subsidized student loans will not accrue interest. Subsidized loans disbursed between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 have a fixed interest rate of 4.529%.

Additional required documentation: Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Similar to Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to students enrolled with at least half-time student status (6 credits or more) in a degree seeking program.  Although a FAFSA is required to determine a student’s eligibility for the loan, eligibility is not need-based.  Interest will accrue on any amount borrowed while a student is enrolled with half-time student status or greater, and during periods of deferment.  However, students are not required to begin paying the loan until six months after graduating or dropping below half-time student status.  Students are encouraged to pay the loan’s interest as it accrues if capable.  Unsubsidized loans for undergraduate students disbursed between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 have a fixed interest rate of 4.529%.

Additional required documentation: Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans are available to parents of dependent students who are enrolled with at least half-time student status (6 credits or more) in a degree seeking program. Parents may borrow up to the student’s full cost of attendance less any other financial aid received. Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans disbursed between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 have a fixed interest rate of 7.079%. Interest paid may be tax deductible. To receive the loan parents must complete a loan application online at studentaid.gov and eligibility is subject to credit approval.  When selecting the school on the application, please select Elms College.

Apply online at studentaid.gov

If you are denied the PLUS loan, and then the decision is reversed and you are approved because of obtaining an endorser (co-signer) or satisfactorily meeting the “extenuating circumstances” provision, then you must complete PLUS loan counseling at studentaid.gov. In the event that a parent is denied for the PLUS loan and are not approved with an endorser, freshman and sophomores are offered an additional $4,000 Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan while junior and seniors are offered an additional $5,000 Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan.

Please note: Each time you apply for a PLUS loan and are denied then approved, you will need to complete this PLUS entrance counseling and a new PLUS master promissory note (MPN).

Understand Your Payment Options

Now’s the time to come up with a plan to reconcile your balance in preparation for your billing statement. If you have a plan, great! If not, feel free to reach out to your admission counselor or the Financial Aid Office for help.

Pay Your Balance in Full: Once you receive your bill, you may choose to pay your balance in full by the due date. Payments can be made online using a credit card or check through Elms Connect. Check payments can also be mailed to Elms College, Student Accounts, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA 01013. Cash payments can be made in person with the Student Accounts Office, located on the first floor of Berchmans Hall, Monday-Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm EST. The office can be contacted at 413-265-2208 or

Monthly Payment Plan: Students can set up a 5-month payment plan each semester for a $50 enrollment fee. The fall payment plan will run August 1st – December 1st while the spring payment plan will run January 1 – May 1. Contact the Student Accounts Office at 413-265-2208 or to set up a payment plan.

Alternative Private Loans

After June 1, students and/or parents may apply for alternative loans. Credit checks may only be good for 90 days. Please be advised that if you apply for the loan too early, the original credit check may expire prior to disbursements to the college, which typically occur in mid-September. A list of lenders is available on http://www.elmselect.com. Students are welcome to work with any educational lender of their choosing, even if they are not found on http://www.elmselect.com.