Student Financial Planning presents an incoming student's guide for financial success. My name is Miriam McAvoy, and I'm the Associate Director of Student Financial Planning. My colleague, Bree Peterson Lucas, and I assist incoming students with their financial aid and affordability questions to ensure a smooth and clear transition into their new degree program. Today we're going to discuss how to apply for federal financial aid, how to estimate your program's tuition costs, other financial resources, and we'll go over some frequently asked questions.
For students seeking federal financial assistance to help with their program costs, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The Student Aid website may have more than one FAFSA available to complete. Generally speaking, the beginning of each school year begins in the fall. For students in a low residency program, the beginning of each school year begins with your summer residency. If you have any questions regarding which application to complete, please reach out to us on the Lynx Solution Center page, and we'll be happy to guide you through. The Student Aid website publishes the upcoming academic year's FAFSA each October. You will need to complete a FAFSA for each academic year you are seeking federal financial aid.
You will need to log into the FAFSA with your Federal Student Aid ID. The FSA ID site is easily linked on the FAFSA page if you need help with remembering or creating your ID or password. Most FAFSA applicants can request to have their tax return information uploaded by the IRS directly onto the FAFSA. This helps to avoid accidental keystroke errors or trying to determine which tax year is required for which application. After you've completed the information on your FAFSA, you'll submit it to Student Aid for processing. You'll also receive a Student Aid Report, sometimes referred to as the SAR, which will be a compilation of your answers and serves as confirmation that your FAFSA is being processed and will be sent to the schools you've indicated. Please review the information on the SAR carefully to ensure the information is accurate. Please note, Lesley will need to have your social security number on file in order to upload your FAFSA from Student Aid. Please contact the Lynx Solution Center if you want to confirm that we have this information. Once the Financial Aid Office has received your FAFSA, you will be notified by email regarding next steps or supporting information they may need to properly review your eligibility for federal aid. But if you have any questions regarding the status of your application, please never hesitate to contact us. The tuition rates and mandatory fees for the current school year are published on Lesley's Student Accounts page. As a graduate student, your tuition costs are based per credit. A majority of our graduate courses are worth three credits each. Next, Bree will review with you other financial resources to assist with your program costs, and she'll share with you our top frequently asked questions from incoming students.
This is a list of financial resources. Lesley offers scholarships, the Federal TEACH Grant, which we'll talk about at the end, tuition discounts, the Interest Free Payment Plan, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and private alternative loans. We will talk about each of these throughout this presentation. This list can also be found online on our website in the Admissions and Financial Aid tab in the Financial section. The FAFSA application must be completed to be considered for the Federal Work Study, federal loans, and the Grad PLUS Loan. Alternative loans do not require a FAFSA because they are outside of Lesley through a separate company. The funds, however, in most cases, are still sent to Lesley and the students we have. Loan information can be found online through elmselect.com or credible.com, or if you have some type of borrow relationship with a bank or credit union already.
We do offer merit based scholarships for graduate students. The decisions and award amounts are made within each school by a department committee, based on the admissions application submitted. A student's financial need is not factored in the award amount or eligibility of these funds. The Financial Aid Office is also not involved in the merit based awards. The Financial Aid Office would be notified of the award so that they can accurately reflect on the student's financial aid award letter and on their billing file. The Graduate School of Education requires a separate application for their merit scholarships. The Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences has additional opportunities available for Expressive Therapy students in their final year, and they also need a separate application. If you're interested in private graduate scholarships that are outside of Lesley, there's a list on our website in the Financial Aid section.
We offer several tuition discounts for our students. We have a veterans' discount for post-911 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon, 25% discount for faculty members, alumni and staff, and 10% for City of Cambridge employees and residents, as well as 10% off of those who are 55 and older. Tuition discount and scholarships cannot be combined. It's important to note that a tuition discount is anything that reduces the cost of tuition, not including loans. Students are eligible for one discount per program, and they cannot be combined with any other discounts. A list of discounts can be found online on our website on the Admissions and Aid tab, under Tuition Discounts.
Tuition discounts and scholarships. We added this slide just so that students are having a better understanding of how discounts and scholarships work. If you qualify for a discount, this cannot be combined with a scholarship. And if you qualify for a scholarship, this cannot be combined with a discount. You can only receive one of these discounts per program. Because we want the student to get the best possible rate, we'll work with the student to determine what is a better deal, if they are eligible for more than one discount. Rest assured that when you are accepted to Lesley, your admissions counselor and the program in which you're admitted will make sure that you have the best possible scholarship available.
In addition to loans, students can pay their balance by Interest Free Payment Plan. Our Interest Free Payment Plan is managed by Nelnet. You can set up the plan for up to five months for each semester. The plans can be used in combination with loans. So if you'd like to take out a loan for a portion and a payment plan for a portion, we encourage students to do so. There's a $45 enrollment fee per plan per semester. You can set up the plan online through the Student Account Center, or you can contact Nelnet directly, and they will set up the plan for you over the phone. It's important that you have your bill with you, so that you know how much to set the plan up for, but you can always make changes to your plan at a later date. The plans all end before the semester begins, so in order to get the five months, you'll want to start at the earliest possible date. For example, our fall plan, if you begin in July, you'll have until November. If you don't make it in July and start in August, the plan will go down to four months. The Graduate Student Financial Aid Award includes Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The loan offers $20,500 per academic year. Currently, the interest rate is 6.6%, which is fixed yearly by Congress. There is a 1.062% origination fee that's deducted from the loan amount before the loan is sent to the school.
This loan is awarded to you based on the completion of the FAFSA. The loan amount is for one academic year and divided evenly over the number of semesters you are enrolled. After the funds are sent to the school, typically after our add/drop period, you are assigned a loan servicer. The loan servicer is the best resource for all repayment info. You can contact your loan servicer for loan forgiveness options and potential deferment while you're enrolled. There are also various repayment options including income driven repayment plans, which base your payment on annual gross income and household size. Any public service loan forgiveness would go through the loan servicer, and they would be the best ones to help you understand what options you have available.
The great debate - should I buy a Graduate PLUS Loan or a private student loan? The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan will allow me to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid. A separate application is required through the studentaid.gov website. The Graduate PLUS Loan does require a credit check. The current interest rate for the PLUS Loan is 7.08%. The origination fee is 4.236%. These loans can be combined with other federal loans for the same repayment plan options. Private student loans also allow me to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid. They also require a credit check, which is often a little more stringent because it's through a bank or credit union.
A few things to consider. The private loan often will allow you to get a better interest rate if your credit is excellent, although federal loans typically have more favorable repayment, deferment and forbearance options. If you have questions, we have answers. The Lynx Solution Center includes Solution Specialists, Student Financial Planning, the Financial Aid Office and Student Accounts. Also in the Solution Center is our Registrar's Office. If you need to reach us, please reach us by phone at 617.349.8760. You can also contact us online through the Solution Center at solutioncenter.lesley.edu. You can find articles to questions or contact us by submitting a case. When you submit a case, you can select Student Financial Planning, new student.
General questions. These next three questions come up often, even after our presentation.
One: does my parents information needs to be included on the FAFSA? Answer: no. Graduate students are no longer required to provide parent information on the FAFSA. If you move from an undergraduate program to a graduate program within the same academic year, you will be required to make a correction to your FAFSA.
Two: I am a resident of the City of Cambridge and should be eligible for the 10% tuition discount, but I already received a Merit Scholarship. How will these be applied? Answer: only one discount can be applied per program, regardless of discount type. You can contact us if you need help determining which is the more affordable option.
Three: if I need to borrow additional financial aid, how much can I receive? Answer: you can borrow up to the cost of attendance, which is tuition, fees, miscellaneous, minus financial aid. If you have additional questions, you can submit a case to the Lynx Solution Center at solutioncenter.lesley.edu. Please contact us by submitting a case. We also offer phone and in person meetings when available.
The Federal TEACH Grant. Federal TEACH Grant is designed to prepare you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high need field. High need fields include Math, Special Education, Bilingual Education, English Language Acquisition, Reading Specialist, Foreign Language, and Science. Qualified applicants can receive up to $4,000 per academic year, with the amount dependent on enrollment. Applicants can receive a maximum total over a graduate program of $8,000. Students must plan to teach for at least four years and plan to complete four years of teaching within eight years of graduating. Please check our website to make sure your program and eligibility is applicable. Just as an FYI, if you are not meeting the requirement of the Federal TEACH Grant at anytime, your grant amount will turn into an unsubsidized loan retroactively from the time it was awarded.