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Understanding Student Loans - FranU Financial Aid

When planning to attend college, learning about student loans is essential to understanding the options available to you to pay for your education. This can be one of the most exciting times of your life, which is why we’re dedicated to making information about student loans accessible and easy to understand.

FranU has developed this guide to student loans, including a student loan comparison chart, which will help you navigate the process of applying for both federal and private loans.

What Are Student Loans?

Student loans are financial awards through either federal or private organizations that need to be repaid, usually with interest. When thinking about student loans, what first comes to mind is usually federal student loans, which are awarded by the government through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

Private lending organizations, such as banks, may also provide student loans that can be used to cover the cost of tuition, books and room and board. While not always the case, private loans may come with higher interest rates than their federal counterparts.

Whether you receive a federal student loan or private student loan, loan funds are used to pay for tuition, room and board and other costs associated with your education.

How to Apply for Student Loans

Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal direct student loans are those available to students or their parents through the FAFSA®. There are several types of federal direct student loans, including Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans (which combines loan amounts).

Visit the Federal Student Aid website to determine the type of loan you may qualify for and award limits and interest rates for each loan.

To apply for federal student loans, you must complete FAFSA® online. FranU will use the information from your FAFSA® form to award you a financial aid package, which may include federal student loans.

Explore Private Student Loans

FranU is proud to be associated with several outstanding lenders to assist students and parents with financing a college education. For students or parents who need to research alternative loan options, ELMSelect is a free resource for comparing student loan rates.

Borrowers may choose any private loan lender, even if they are not listed on the ELMSelect site. The Office of Financial Aid encourages loan borrowers to compare lenders, their benefits and repayment terms in order to make an informed decision. To assist with the student loan selection process, the site presents a listing of lenders and their products in an interactive format.

You should exhaust all other ways of financing your education, including federal loans, grants and scholarships, before taking out a private student loan. To learn more about navigating Private Loan options, view the Truth in Lending Disclosure.

Student Loan Comparison Chart

Loan Type

Loan Name

Program Details

Loan Amount

Interest Rate


Direct Subsidized

For undergraduates who demonstrate financial need.

Interest is typically not charged while in school at least half-time.

Multiple repayment options and grace period after graduation.

$23,000 over four years


$65,500 (graduate and professional students)

4.99% (subject to change)


Direct Unsubsidized

For undergraduate, graduate or professional degree students.

No proof of financial need is required to qualify.

Interest is charged during all periods (interest is accrued on the principal amount).

Multiple repayment options and grace period after graduation.

Between $31,000 to $57,500 over four years (undergraduates)

$138,500 (graduate and professional students)

4.99% for undergraduates (subject to change)

6.54% for graduate and professional degree students (subject to change)


Direct PLUS

For parents borrowing for dependent undergraduate students or for graduate and professional degree students.

No proof of financial need is required to qualify.

Credit history is a factor in eligibility and loan amount.

Multiple repayment options and grace period after graduation.

Maximum award is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

7.54% (subject to change)


Private Lending Organization (Sallie Mae, College Ave, SoFi, etc.)

Available to undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students.

Credit history is a factor for eligibility and loan amount.

Ability to have a loan cosigner.

Rate discounts available, depending on lender offerings.

Multiple repayment options depending on the lender; however, grace periods after graduation are typically not offered.

Up to 100% of college expenses (tuition, room and board, meal plan, equipment, etc.)

Variable rate: 4.49%-15.83%,

depending on lender (subject to change)

Fixed rate: 4.74%-15.32%, depending on lender (subject to change)

Managing Direct Loans - Resources for Students and Their Families

Students and parents can explore FranU’s extensive financial aid resources on Direct Loan Programs, including helpful publications and tools to help manage their Direct Loans.

  • Manage My Direct Loans - Whether you’re just starting your higher education journey, are in repayment or are having difficulty keeping up with payments, this resource provides information on everything from estimating your payments to applying for temporary relief.

  • Repayment Checklist - As you’re financially planning for life after graduation, this repayment checklist is an easy-to-follow guide to the steps you’ll need to take to set yourself up for success.

  • Repayment Plan Comparison Chart - There are many different types of repayment options you may qualify for, depending on the loan you received. This resource allows you to easily compare your options so that you can choose the best repayment plan for where you’re at in life.

Loan Repayment Calculator - Wondering how much your repayments will be? The Loan Repayment Calculator lets you see estimated payments based on your loan amount, the interest rate and years to repay.

Start Your Application to FranU to Receive Your Financial Aid Award Letter

After applying to Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, you’ll receive a Financial Aid Award Letter that details the type and amount of financial aid you have been awarded. From there, you can accept your financial aid award and prepare for your time at FranU!