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Types of Student Loans

There are two types of loans under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program at California Western.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are need-based loans available to undergraduate students only
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based and are available to undergraduate and graduate students.

The terms of the two loans are nearly identical. The only difference is the Subsidized Loan does not accrue interest as long as the borrower maintains at least half-time attendance at an eligible institution, or during the six-month grace period after such enrollment ceases. The Unsubsidized Loan always accrues interest, whether in repayment, deferment, forbearance, or while the student is in school at least half-time.
Subsidized Loans are no longer available to graduate students for award periods that begin after July 1, 2012. Unsubsidized Loans will continue to be available to graduate students.

  • In the typical case where the loan period covers two trimesters, half of the loan amount is disbursed at the beginning of each term.
  • For loans with a first disbursement between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, fees of 1.066% will be taken out of each disbursement.

Students wishing to receive Federal Direct Loans must complete the following steps:

  • Submit a FASFA to establish eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Students must also complete a CWSL Online Aid Application and indicate they want to receive federal student loans.
  • Once the Financial Aid office assembles the student's aid package, and the student has accepted one or more loans, the loan certification will then be electronically transmitted to the Direct Loan Servicer. The servicer will then send a Master Promissory Note to the student for completion if one is not already on file. Promissory notes may also be completed on the website.
  • Once disbursed, the school will apply your loan proceeds directly to your student account.

First-time borrowers must complete entrance counseling.

Be sure to read your promissory note carefully, as it is your responsibility to understand the terms of the loans you are applying for. Make sure to keep copies of all loan documents for your records.

The rates for Direct PLUS loans are higher than Unsubsidized loans but are typically lower than private alternative loans. Direct PLUS loans are eligible for federal loan repayment options like Income-Based Repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness. 
As with other federal loans, a student must file a FAFSA to establish eligibility, even though the PLUS is not a need-based loan.
The PLUS has its own separate Master Promissory Note which must be completed by the student in either an electronic or paper form.

  • Direct Graduate PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 5.3% for loans made between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
  • For loans with first disbursements between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, fees of 4.228% will be charged.
  • Students may borrow Graduate PLUS loans up to the school’s cost of attendance minus other aid.
  • There is no lifetime limit.

Graduate PLUS loan borrowers cannot have a negative credit history.

  • PLUS lenders check a borrower’s credit prior to approving a PLUS loan.
  • A borrower cannot have a current delinquency of 90 days or more, and cannot have a Default, Bankruptcy, Discharge, Foreclosure, Repossession, Tax Lien, Wage Garnishment, Write-off of a Title IV Debt, or Open Collection in the last five years.
  • PLUS loans have a standard ten-year repayment period and a minimum monthly payment of $50.
  • Repayment begins within 60 days, but payments can be deferred while a student is attending school at least half-time.
  • Borrowers may select other repayment options, such as income-driven payment plans, once they are no longer in school.

The application process for the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is similar to the one for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Although the Direct PLUS loan isn’t need-based, it does require a student to file a FASFA.  A student must complete and sign, electronically or on paper, a Master Promissory Note.

California Western School of Law’s Financial Aid office believes students should consider federal loans over private student loans whenever possible. Private loans or alternative loans are more expensive than federal loans.