Borrowing to pay for college is a common practice. Most students who need financial aid borrow a student loan. At the Upstate Medical University, student loans are the majority of all the aid received by students.

Student Loans are a valuable tool that can help you pay for today's costs…

…but, loans have to be repaid. To avoid future credit problems, it's critical that if you borrow, you understand the terms of your loans, the cumulative amounts you've borrowed, and how much you will be expected to repay after graduation.

Loan Types

Borrowing to pay for college is a common practice. Most students who need financial aid borrow a student loan. At the Upstate Medical University, student loans are the majority of all the aid received by students.

Student Loans are a valuable tool that can help you pay for today's costs

…but, loans have to be repaid. To avoid future credit problems, it's critical that if you borrow, you understand the terms of your loans, the cumulative amounts you've borrowed, and how much you will be expected to repay after graduation.

Loan Types

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are part of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and consist of subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. Direct loans are federal low-interest loans available to help eligible students cover the cost of a higher education. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

Application Process

You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive the Federal Direct Stafford Loan. Eligibility for the direct loan program is determined by information submitted on the FAFSA. All financial aid applicants who file the FAFSA and are admitted to the college are considered for the federal direct loan program. The amount of funding available to you will be listed on your financial aid account under My Upstate.

Interest Rates and Loan Terms

Direct loans are awarded based on financial need and may be subsidized, unsubsidized or a combination of the two. The basic loan terms for both the subsidized and unsubsidized loan are:

Interest Rates and Loan Terms
Interest rate: 6.8% fixed
Loan fees: 1% of gross amount of loan
Credit check: No

Stafford Loan Limits

There are limits on the maximum Stafford Loan amount you may borrow each academic year called an annual loan maximum. Your annual loan maximum is based on your grade level. There is also a limit to the total amount of Stafford Loans you may receive over your lifetime and this is called your aggregate loan maximum. Your aggregate loan maximum is based on your most recent grade level.

Origination Fee

There is a fee to process all federal student loans called an origination fee. The origination fee for the subsidized and unsubsidized loan program is 1% of the gross amount of the loan. The origination fee is deducted from the loan before you receive your funds. The exact amount of the origination fee is reflected in the disclosure statement sent to you by the Department of Education after your loan has been approved.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

When you receive a Stafford Loan for the first time, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN is the legal document you must sign where you promise to repay your loan and any accrued interest and fees. The MPN for the Stafford Loan is good for both the subsidized and unsubsidized program and is valid for ten years. You may complete your MPN online at External Icon.


Repayment begins six months after graduation or when you are no longer enrolled for a minimum of six credits. The standard repayment term can extend over a ten year period. Extended repayment options beyond ten years are also available. More information on repaying your student loan will be provided to you during your student loan exit interview which is conducted prior to graduation.

Subsidized Stafford Loan Program

Subsidized loans are based on financial need. Interest does not accrue on subsidized loans while you are enrolled in school, during your grace period or during authorized deferment periods.

Effective July 1, 2012, subsidized loans will only be available to undergraduate students.

Graduate students with enrollment periods prior to July 1, 2012 may qualify for the subsidized loan program. Graduate students with enrollment periods that begin on or after July 1, 2012 will not qualify for the subsidized loan program. This change in subsidized eligibility is the result of program changes that resulted from the Budget Control Act passed October 2011.

Subsidized Loan Limits
Annual loan maximum: $5,500 Undergraduates
$8,500 Graduates prior to July 1, 2012
Aggregate loan maximum: $23,000 Undergraduates
$65,500 Graduates

Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program

Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need. Interest is charged on the unsubsidized loan effective the date it is paid to your account and continues to accrue for the entire life of the loan. You are responsible for either paying the interest as it accrues, or adding it to your principal balance and repaying it after you leave school.

Unsubsidized loans are available to students that meet the basic financial aid eligibility requirements.

Unsubsidized Loan Limits

Unsubsidized Loan Limits
Annual loan maximum: $2,000 Undergraduates
$12,000 Graduates prior to July 1, 2012
$20,500 Graduates after July 1, 2012
$32,000 Medical students enrolled 9 months
$34,222 Medical students enrolled 10 months
$36,444 Medical students enrolled 11 months
$38,667 Medical students enrolled 12 months
Aggregate loan maximum: $138,000 Graduate students
$224,000 Medical students

Federal Perkins Loan

This is a Federal loan administered by the Upstate Medical University and SUNY. Eligibility is determined strictly by financial need and the availability of funds. The interest rate is 5% per year, and begins 9 months after graduation or leaving school.

The Perkins loan can be canceled for full time work as a medical technician. or registered nurse. All of the academic programs in the College of Health Professions meet the criteria for this cancellation.

Primary Care Loan (PCL)

The Primary Care Loan is a low interest Federal loan for medical students who agree to:

  • Enter and complete residency training in primary care within four years after graduation
  • Practice in primary care for the life of the loan

Primary Care for this loan is defined as Family Practice, General Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, or Preventive Medicine.

For borrowers who fulfill this obligation, the interest rate is 5% per year. Interest begins to be charged one year after graduation, and can be deferred for up to 3 additional years while in residency training in one of the required specialties. For borrowers who fail to enter one of these specialties, the interest rate increases to 18% per year.

Eligibility for this loan is determined by financial need and the availability of funds. Federal regulations require that schools use parents' financial information to calculate eligibility.

For more information about loan terms and repayment, contact:

SUNY Student Loan Service Center External Icon
University at Albany
One University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144-3497.

Upstate Foundation/Upstate Faculty Student Association

Both the Upstate Medical University Foundation and the Faculty Student Association provide short and long term loans to students. These loans funds have been donated by various individuals and organizations to assist students.

Short term loans are available to all students at the Center. These are intended for individuals who have emergency expenses, or whose financial aid has been delayed for reasons beyond their control. A maximum of $500 is available, and the loan must be paid within 3 months, or by the end of the academic term. No interest is charged for loans repaid as scheduled. Loans not repaid are charged interest of 5% per year, compounded semi-annually, on the outstanding balance.

To apply for a short term loan, contact:

Bursar's Office at Phone: 315 464-5148

Federal Parents Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

This is a loan from a bank, co-signed by the Federal government. It's available to parents of dependent undergraduates who are enrolled at least half-time and making satisfactory academic progress. The maximum that parents can borrow is equal to the cost of education minus other financial aid awarded. There is no income test for this loan, but parents cannot have a history of adverse credit. A variable rate of interest, capped at 9 percent per year, is charged on the loan.

Federal GRADPLUS Loans

These are loans from a bank. The Federal government acts as your co-signer. The basic terms of the loans are the same at all lending institutions. Options that can vary are the quality of service (making and collecting the loan) and incentives or options for loan repayment.

Depending on the amount you borrow, you may be dealing with your student loan lender or their servicer for many years. The Financial Aid Office recommends certain lenders because of their high level of service and commitment to the student loan program.

Loan Terms

Interest is a fixed rate of 8.50%. The Standard repayment term is a ten year period. Extended repayment options beyond 10 years are also available.

Repayment may be deferred during school if you remain enrolled at least half-time.

Private Loans

Preferred Lender List
  1. Why A Preferred Lender List?

    The Financial Aid Office at Upstate Medical University has the best interests of our student and parent borrowers as our primary concern. The Office of Financial Aid takes student loan counseling very seriously. While there are a multitude of student loan companies offering hundreds of different products, features, benefits and incentives; we know that the average student/parent does not have the time, knowledge, or resources to research all of the available options. We also know that promotional materials or Web sites developed by some lenders may be confusing.

    Upstate Medical University closely monitors the performance of all of our student loan lender partners to ensure the highest quality of service and products for our students and families. Our Preferred Lenders have demonstrated a commitment to providing the very best customer service, technology, and borrower benefits. These lenders have worked collaboratively with the higher education community to continuously improve and match the services we provide. They are committed to keeping borrower costs as minimal as possible. Our lenders provide detailed information about their product and services. Most importantly, our Preferred Lenders have worked collaboratively with our office to ensure that our borrowers are receiving the best product the industry has to offer.

  2. Do I have to select a Lender from the List?

    Absolutely not! The Higher Education Reauthorization Act ensures that you may select any lender that participates in the student loan program. The Office of Financial Aid has and will continue to process your private educational loan with the lender of your choice.

    If you select a lender that is not on our list, please be sure to do your research. Make sure that their benefits, terms, and conditions mirror those of the lenders on our list. You should also be aware that many credit unions, small banks, and "new" lenders do not possess the technology to process their loans in an electronic format. If you submit a paper loan application, processing can take four to six weeks; compared to two to three days for an electronic loan application. They also may not have the capacity to send your loan proceeds via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) which will significantly delay receipt of your money.

    It is the borrower's responsibility to provide lender information to the Office of Financial Aid in order to provide the appropriate certifications. Upstate will certify all eligible loans regardless of lender. It is the borrowers' responsibility to notify our office as to their intended lender.

    After reviewing all the information available, you should ultimately make the decision that is best for you and your family. Please be assured that you will suffer no penalty for choosing a lender that is not on our Preferred Lender List.

  3. How Does Upstate Medical University Select a Lender?

    The terms, conditions, and benefits our lenders are evaluated each academic year. As a result, new lenders may be added due to improvements in their borrower benefits, customer service, and technology. Lenders are included on this list based on the criteria below. Students and parents can be assured that the lenders who make the list have earned the designation through service to our students, families, and the University.

    1. Borrower Benefits

      Lenders must retain competitive rates and repayment benefits must mirror industry standards. To ensure that our borrowers receive the most competitive repayments, high priority is given to lenders who provide above average repayment benefits to student borrowers. High value loan services must be offered by selected lenders. "Value&" is not always about price, although our list contains several of the low cost providers. Value might be defined as incentives for on-time payments, opportunity to defer payments until graduation, and immediate interest rate reductions. These are just a few examples of the many borrower benefits offered by our lenders.

    2. Lender Stability

      Lenders must be divisions or affiliates of federally insured commercial banks, federally insured savings banks, credit unions, other established financial services companies, or contract with loan servicers that have been actively engaged in the student loan industry. This helps to ensure that the lender will still be there for students in future years.

    3. Lender Customer Service

      Lenders must have a proven record of superior customer service. This includes offering a variety of payment options including but not limited to auto-debit and Web-payment. Lenders must maintain student loan departments staffed by knowledgeable personnel, provide toll free telephone access, and be available evenings and nights in addition to daytime hours.

    4. Lender Technology and Operational Standards

      Students at Upstate Medical expect and deserve quick, efficient, and accurate processing of their student loans. Student borrowers want a simplified loan delivery system that includes internet processing. Waiting in line is unacceptable. For the benefit of both the student and the University it is essential that a lender possess state of the art operations, including real time Web sites and 24/7 access to loan information. Lenders must be able to interface with BANNER and ELM Resources. Lenders must be able to transmit loan funds through EFT as well as process/update loan transactions in real time. Timely and responsive processing with excellent problem resolution service within 24 hours is essential. A toll free number for borrower information is required. Lenders must have a school focused support process. Call centers should be familiar with the University's procedures for all federal loan programs.

    5. Default Management

      It is important for lenders to provide Web based default management tools and early intervention for borrowers who are delinquent on their loan payments. Preferred lenders provide payment and repayment calculators, consolidation information, planning/budgeting tips, and credit information to both students and parents. They also provide information to borrowers about costs of deferment/forbearance. Lenders should also provide financial literacy programs including budgeting and credit management. Commitment to debt management and default aversion provides services to our students through cooperative efforts with the University. These services include numerous activities such as providing Web sites to educate students on financial issues, offering debt management tools, and offering credit management programs. Responsible lenders have an interest in assisting our students to become responsible, credit worthy consumers in the future.

    6. Flexibility

      The Office of Financial Aid monitors our policies and procedures in an effort to improve our efficiency and service to student borrowers. We depend on our lender partners to support us in this endeavor by keeping us apprised of market changes and providing training on new regulations. We expect our lenders to be flexible and able to respond quickly to accommodate changes or provide required information.

    7. Other

      No lender will knowingly misrepresent themselves or their institution's terms, conditions, or benefits. There is a mutual expectation between the lender and Upstate Medical University that neither party will solicit for individual gain.

  4. Who are our preferred lenders?