FAQ
   For Students
   For Parents
   For Financial Aid Professionals
   Alternative Loans

FAQ:

For Students:

How do I apply for grants and other financial aid assistance such as student loans?
You need to obtain a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) you can receive a FAFSA at either www.FAFSA.ed.gov or www.studentaid.ed.gov. The FASFA indicates interest in student employment, student loans and parent loans.

What is my deadline for submitting my FASFA?
You need to submit it by June 30th of that academic year. Example: June 30th, 2005 for the school year of 2005-2006.

What are the Federal Stafford Loan Limits?
Federal Stafford Loan limits are based on your status as a student.

Dependant Undergraduate

Independent Undergraduate

1st year= 2,625.00

1st year= 6,625(4,000 unsubsidized*)

2nd year= 3,500.00

2nd year= 7,500(4,000 unsubsidized*)

3rd year= 5,500.00

3rd year= 10,500(5,000 unsubsidized*)

4th year= 5,500.00

4th year= 10,500(5,000 unsubsidized*)

Graduate & Professional Student
1st - 4th year= 18,500(10,000 unsubsidized)

Certain Medical programs
1st - 4th year= 38,500(30,000 unsubsidized)

*A dependant student can receive Independent rates if their parents were unable to obtain a PLUS loan( Please see Parent PLUS Loan).

What is the difference between a Subsidized Stafford Loan and an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
If you borrow a Subsidized Stafford Loan, the government pays the interest while you are in school and during your grace period. If you borrow an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, interest is accruing on your loan the day of disbursement; however, you are not required to make payments until 6 months after you graduate.

What is the interest rate on Stafford Loans?
For the 2004-2005 school year the interest rate is 2.77%. Interest rates are set by the government every July 1st for the up coming school year. The interest rate is based on the 91-day T-Bill + 1.7%.

Are there any other types of loans?
Yes, the Perkins Loan and Pell Grant. These are federal loan programs administered by your school. These loan programs are need based loans allowing you can borrow up to $4,000 from each. You may also obtain an Alternative Loan which are credit based (please see Alternative Loans).

Do I have to be admitted to a college to apply for financial aid?
No, you can fill out the FAFSA form before applying for admission. College attendance is required in order to receive most forms of financial aid, since the cost of attendance is a major factor that determines the amount of aid. The final aid package may include funds awarded by the school in the form of scholarships, grants, and work-study.

What does going to college really cost?
The financial aid office is your best resource for total cost. Remember that they only provide you with information specific to their institution.

How much can I borrow?
You can borrow up to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Your school's financial aid office will determine this amount for you.

I have an outside scholarship. Should I report this to financial aid?
Yes. You must report any kind of financial aid from university or government sources.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. Contact your school's financial aid office to be sure.

For Parents

How can I figure out what college will really cost my student?
The financial aid office is your best resource for total cost of education. Remember that they only provide information for their institution.

What is cost of education?
Cost of education or attendance is based on the following:
¤ The actual tuition and fees or the school's average tuition and fees.
¤ The cost of room and board, living expenses for students who do not contract with the school for room and board.
¤ The cost of books, supplies, transportation and miscellaneous educational expenses

What loans are there for me to help my student?
The best way is the Parent PLUS Loan. You can also choose an Alternative Loan as a borrower or co-borrower (please see Alternative Loans).

What is a PLUS Loan and how does it work?
PLUS Loans are federal loans which a parent may take out to help their student pay for college. PLUS Loans have an interest rate that is set by the government (4.17%) for the 2004-2005 school year. Unlike a student Stafford Loan which does not have to be repaid until the student finishes college, repayment begins 60 days after the final loan disbursement date. Just like the Stafford Loan, PLUS Loan funds are disbursed to the school and not the student. PLUS Loans are based on the credit history of the parents or legal guardians.

How do I obtain a PLUS Loan?
Contact your student's financial aid office and request a PLUS Loan application. In the section for your choice of lender simply put in our lender code 833810.

Will my family be penalized with a lower amount of financial aid because we've saved money for college?
Parental savings are only a small part of the need assessment schools conduct, current income is more important. Contact your financial advisor for ideal ways to fund a college education.

For Financial Aid Professionals

Who is Opus Financial?
Opus Financial is a non-profit organization based in Cleveland, Ohio. Our product brands are Medfunds for healthcare related disciplines and A+Funds for all non-healthcare related students. Our Mission statement: Helping students realize and achieve their higher education goals through financial awareness and affordable funding.

How can I obtain more information on your loans?
You can order more information from our list of brochures. (Material Requests)

What other services do you offer?
We offer a variety of services for both your financial aid office and your students, including entrance and exit counseling. Please see our financial aid resource section. (Financial Aid Resources)

What is your Lender Code?
For all graduate and professional degree seeking students the lender code is 834040. For all other educational students please utilize lender code is 833810.

Can I certify your Private Loans on-line?
If you are an ELM compatible school you can certify on-line. We are in the process of adding more data exchanges to allow certification on numerous platforms. Please contact your marketing representative for further details. (OPUS Reps)

Alternative Loans

What is the difference between Stafford Loans and Alternative Loans?
Stafford Loans are guaranteed by the government and our non-credit based. Alternative Loans are credit based. The government sets the interest rate for Stafford Loans; the lender determines the terms and interest rates for Alternative Loans.

What is the best way to choose a Alternative Loan Product?
One of the best ways of choosing an alternative loan is to look at the interest rate while in school, and the final APR out of school. Remember an Alternative Loan's interest rates are variable and change quarterly.

How much Alternative funds can be borrowed?
You can borrow up to cost of education less other financial aid. For example, if you receive $6,000 in Stafford Loans and tuition is $10,000; then you can borrow $4,000 in the form of an Alternative Loan. Your schools financial aid office is the best source of information.

What is LIBOR?
LIBOR stands for the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate and is the average interest rate paid on deposits of American dollars in the London Market. It is a standard index used in the U.S. markets like the Prime Rate and T-Bill rates.

How can I apply for an alternative loan?
You can apply over the phone by calling (800)539-0065 or you can download an application from this website.

What happens if I am denied?
There is an appeal process for reconsideration or you can apply with a co-signer. Call our toll free number (800)539-0065.

Do I need to re-apply every year for an Alternative Loan?
Yes, since the loan is credit based you need to re-apply every year.

Who do I contact to obtain a copy of my credit report?
You can request your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus. You can request your credit report by mail, phone or Internet. The cost is minimal or even free in some states.

Equifax

www.equifax.com

(800) 685-1111

Experian

www.experian.com

(800) 397-3742

Trans Union

www.transunion.com

(800) 916-8800

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