Federal Loan Programs

Canisius University participates in various federal loan programs to assist students and families in meeting educational costs.  Education loans are financial aid funds that must be repaid.  Great care is taken to counsel students and families on appropriate loan levels and repayment options.  Students are well-informed and therefore, our federal 3-year cohort default rate (CDR) for fiscal year 2020 is 0%.  The national average for private schools in 2020 is 0%.  About 67% of Canisius University students borrow Federal Education loans.  

Federal Subsidized Direct Loan Program

This low interest loan program is made available through the federal government. Interest on subsidized loans is paid by the government while the student is in school. To qualify, eligible undergraduate students must be:

  • U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens as determined by the criteria on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Enrolled for a minimum of 6 credit hours in a semester.
  • Matriculating toward a degree.

All Federal Direct Loan applicants must complete the FAFSA to determine eligibility for the loan.  The student will be evaluated for the loan based upon the most current federal regulations.

The maximum loan eligibility per academic year is as follows:

1st Year$3,500
2nd Year$4,500
3rd Year$5,500
4th Year$5,500
5th Year$5,500

A 1% origination/default fee will be deducted from the full value of each student loan prior to disbursement.  Repayment of this loan begins six months after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. The interest rate is fixed for all new loans disbursed after July 1, 2006.  The new interest rate is based on the 91-Day T-Bill rate plus 1.7 percent. The interest rate cannot exceed 8.25 percent. Undergraduate loans processed after July 1, 2023 carry an annual interest charge in repayment of 4.99 percent.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan

This student loan is identical to the terms and conditions of the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan (i.e. origination fee, etc.) except that the borrower is required to pay interest while in school. Currently, the interest rate is 4.99%. The FAFSA is required to determine eligibility. Eligibility for the subsidized loan is determined first. If the student does not qualify for a full subsidized loan, he/she will then qualify for all or a partial amount of the unsubsidized loan. Undergraduate students may be eligible for a $2,000 unsubsidized Direct Loan in addition to their original loan for the year.

Students interested in borrowing from the Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) should follow these steps at :

  • Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Select the green “Sign-in” button on the left and sign-in using your FAFSA Pin
Select “Complete Master Promissory Note”
Select “Subsidized/Unsubsidized”

  • Loan Entrance Counseling: First-time student loan borrowers must complete loan entrance counseling in order to receive a loan.  (Previous student loan borrowers are not required to complete another entrance counseling session.)

Select the green “Sign-in” button on the left and sign-in using your FAFSA Pin
Select “Complete Entrance Counseling”

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students

The Federal Undergraduate PLUS Loan is available to assist dependent undergraduate students by allowing their parent(s) to borrow for their educational expenses.

To be eligible, a student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien and must be registered for at least six credit hours per semester. Please note that there are two steps in applying for a PLUS Loan (Application & Master Promissory Note):

  • PLUS Loan Application (Parents & Graduate Level Students): 

Select the green “Sign-in” button on the left and sign-in using your FAFSA Pin
Select “Start PLUS Application Process”
Select appropriate loan (Graduate or Parent PLUS) and complete the loan  application

  • If approved, please then complete the PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note.

Parent(s) may borrow up to the difference between the cost of attendance and all other financial aid per child. Currently, the annual interest charge is 8.05%. The interest rate is calculated annually based upon a 91-day-T-bill plus 3.1%. (The interest rate cannot exceed 9%.) A 4% origination/default fee is deducted from the loan check when it is disbursed. Repayment of this loan plus interest begins 60 days after the loan is disbursed, but parents may request a deferment of principal until the student graduates. Parents who have no adverse credit history are eligible for Undergraduate PLUS loans.

Private Education Loans

Students and families wishing to extend their payments beyond the school year may wish to consider a private education loan.  It is your responsibility to research these options and to find the one best suited to your needs.  Be sure to review interest rates, fees and special features.  Be aware that each lender performs its own credit check and multiple checks can have an adverse effect on your credit score.  You should opt for a loan that has no prepayment penalty and is deferred until graduation.  Most importantly, borrow conservatively.

All lenders are required to provide you with a copy of their Private Loan Application Disclosure form prior to disbursement of funds. Keep in mind that you are free to choose any lender you wish without penalty or undue delay in processing.

Click here to research lenders. This site will allow you to view and compare loan products as well as apply for your private education loan.

Lender Selection

We recommend certain lenders for their quality of service and issue resolution and can provide students with a list to begin their search. The Financial Aid Office requests detailed information from any lender wishing to be considered for our list.  A formal "Request for Information" (RFI) is periodically send out to lenders and the office staff carefully reviews answers to a number of questions.  Such topics include:

  • Interest Rates
  • Borrower benefits
  • Repayment terms and options
  • Customer Service
  • Problem resolution

In addition, members of the Financial Aid staff phone the various lenders posing as a student or parent seeking information.  This provides additional insight on customer service and the experience level of the lender's phone staff. Canisius University is required to review the list annually to verify the terms given.

Know These Concepts—and Ask Before You Borrow

What is the interest rate? Typically expressed as an annual percentage, the interest rate is the proportion of the loan that’s charged in addition to the principal amount. Generally speaking, federal loans have lower interest rates compared to private loans.

Is the interest rate different if I have a cosigner? It can potentially be lower if your cosigner has a strong credit score.

Is the interest rate fixed or variable? A fixed-rate loan has a single interest rate that stays the same for the lifetime of the loan. A variable-rate loan has an interest rate that can change over time. For example, a variable-rate loan might start off with a low interest rate, but as the loan matures, the rate might increase. Be sure you understand how the interest rates work for any loan you’re considering.

Are there any fees attached to the loan? The fees will vary depending on the loan. Make sure you understand what fees you’ll be charged.

Is there a maximum amount I can borrow? The maximum amount for federal loans is determined by your financial aid award and grade year. The maximum amount for private loans depends on the lender, your financial aid award, and your education costs.

When do I begin repayment? You are usually expected to begin paying back your federal loans six months after graduation, but the repayment start time may differ among private lenders.

Can I defer my loan for graduate school? You can defer federal loan repayments if you enroll in graduate school and maintain, at a minimum, half-time status. For private loans, your options will vary depending on the lender.

Are there penalties for late payments? Yes, there are additional fees for any late payments. The amounts vary by lender. In extreme cases, your loan may enter default. Late payments can also affect your credit score.