Here you will find information about various federal student loans as well as federal parent and private loan options for undergraduate students. Federal loans (Direct and Parent PLUS) require the completion of a FAFSA in order to determine eligibility. For information about deferments (and links to deferment forms), please log into your Federal Student Aid account dashboard, and view loan calculators in our Student Loan Repayment section.

Active Confirmation: Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, you must log in to SIS to actively accept or decline any Federal Direct Loan and/or Tufts Loan awarded as part of your financial aid award. Active confirmation must be submitted for each loan. The pending credit for an awarded loan will not appear on your student account unless you have accepted it.

Please be sure to begin the loan application process via the links on this site in early July when the Fall eBill is released. This will ensure that your loan can be processed in time to meet the early August eBill due date.

Undergraduate Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are federal student loans offered by the U.S. Department of Education. The student is the borrower, and no payments are due until 6 months after you graduate, withdraw from Tufts, or drop below half time status. The federal government sets the interest rate in June for the upcoming academic year, and it is effective from July 1st to June 30th.

If you wish to borrow a Federal Direct Loan that is not already part of your current award package, please contact your aid counselor to determine your eligibility. You can learn more about loans provided by the government on their website. To see how much you have already borrowed in federal loans,  please log into your Federal Student Aid account dashboard.

Federal Direct Loans - Rates and Fees
Academic YearInterest RateLoan Fee
2024-20256.53%1.057%

Direct Subsidized Loans

  • Interest does not accrue while a student is enrolled at least half-time. 
  • Depending on your eligibility, you may borrow a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan in amounts up to the Federal Direct Loan Limits listed below. 
  • Direct Subsidized Loans will only be available for up to 150% of the published length of your program. You can find more detailed information on the federal government's website.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans

  • All interest charges for this loan are the responsibility of the borrower. You can choose to make interest payments prior to the start of repayment
  • Any student ineligible for a Direct Subsidized Loan may borrow a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. 
  • Depending on your eligibility, you may borrow a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan in amounts up to the Federal Direct Loan Limits listed below. 

Active Confirmation

Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, you must log in to SIS to actively accept or decline any Federal Direct Loan awarded as part of your financial aid award. Active confirmation must be submitted for each Direct Loan, whether Subsidized or Unsubsidized. The pending credit for an awarded loan will not appear on your student account unless you have accepted it. 

Direct Loan Active Acceptance Process

1. Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, you must log in to SIS to actively accept any Federal Direct Loan awarded as part of your financial aid award. 

  • Active confirmation must be submitted for each Direct Loan, whether Subsidized or Unsubsidized. 
  • The pending credit for an awarded loan will not appear on your student account unless you have accepted it. 
  • Active Confirmation must be submitted every academic year you are awarded a Federal Direct Loan.

2. First Time Borrowers: Complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).

  • You must complete MPN before loan funds can be disbursed.
  • The MPN certifies your promise to repay any Federal Direct Loan you borrow.
  • Only needs to be completed once, applies to all undergraduate Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans borrowed.

3. First Time Borrowers: Complete Entrance Counseling

  • You must complete entrance counseling before loan funds can be disbursed.
  • The counseling explains your rights and responsibilities as a loan borrower. 
  • Only needs to be completed once, applies to all undergraduate Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans borrowed.

Federal Direct Loan Limits

The Department of Education sets annual and aggregate (lifetime) limits on the amount of debt a student can obtain from the federal government. The chart below summarizes the current limits for the Federal Direct Loan. 

Undergraduate students who borrow the maximum Direct Subsidized Loan for their grade level can also request to borrow a Direct Unsubsidized Loan up to $2,000. Also, if your parent applied for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan and was denied, you may borrow additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds up to the Independent Undergraduate Student limit.  

As of July 1st, 2013, first-time Direct Subsidized Loan borrowers may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. You can find more information on the Federal Student Aid website.

Federal Direct Loans - Annual and Total Borrowing Limits
Grade LevelDependent Undergraduate StudentIndependent Undergraduate Student*
First Year$5,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be Subsidized$9,500 - No more than $3,500 of this amount may be Subsidized
Second Year$6,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may Subsidized$10,500 - No more than $4,500 of this amount may be Subsidized
Third and Fourth Year$7,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may Subsidized$12,500 - No more than $5,500 of this amount may be Subsidized
Total Borrowing Limit$31,000 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be Subsidized$57,500 - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be Subsidized

*Also applies to dependent undergraduate students whose parent applied for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan and was denied

Undergraduate Tufts Loans

 

Tufts Loans are need-based, institutional undergraduate loans which typically range from $500 to $2,500 per year, with a 5-year repayment term. Tufts Loans are awarded as part of the financial aid award to eligible students. Tufts Loans may be from the Farwell Fund, the National Distillers Fund, or the Warren Fund. The terms and conditions are the same regardless of the name of the fund. No fee or interest is charged, and no payments are due until 6 months after you graduate, withdraw from Tufts, or drop below half time status.

Full details can be found in the Tufts Loan Disclosure. If you have questions about Tufts Loans, please contact us. Learn more about deferment for Tufts Loans

Tufts Loans - Rates and Fees
Disbursement DateInterest Rate Loan Fee
After July 1, 20175%N/A

Active Confirmation

Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, you must log in to SIS to actively accept or decline a Tufts Loan awarded as part of your financial aid award. The pending credit for an awarded loan will not appear on your student account unless you have accepted it.

Tufts Loan Active Acceptance Process

1. Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, you must log in to SIS to actively accept any Tufts Loan awarded as part of your financial aid award. 

  • Active confirmation must be submitted for the Tufts Loan. 
  • The pending credit for an awarded loan will not appear on your student account unless you have accepted it. 
  • Active Confirmation must be submitted every academic year you are awarded a Tufts Loan.

2. Sign your Tufts Loan Promissory Note and complete the Self Certification Form.

  • University Accounting Services (UAS) is the servicer for the Tufts Loan
  • You will receive an email from UAS with instructions to sign your Tufts Loan Promissory Note and complete the Self Certification Form. 
  • Follow the instructions in the email to obtain your PIN. If you have any difficulties please contact UAS at 844-870-8701.

Upon leaving the university, you must complete a Loan Exit Counseling session online.

Active Loan Confirmation

Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, you must log in to SIS to actively accept or decline any Federal Direct Loan and/or Tufts Loan awarded as part of your financial aid award. Active confirmation must be submitted for each loan. The pending credit for an awarded loan will not appear on your student account unless you have accepted it.

  • Log in to SIS and click the Awards and Documents link under the Financial Aid tab. Then select Student Loan Accept or Decline from the Menu. Review the loans listed under Your Awards, and accept or decline each one, or all of them based on your preference. Then click Submit to confirm your choice(s).

  • After the fall eBill has been released in early July, a pending credit for each accepted loan will appear on the student account within a few business days. You can log in to SIS and click on the Pending Credits Detail link under the Bills & Balances tab to view the update. 

    The addition of the pending credit will automatically update your Student Account Balance to reflect the current balance due. Please note that an eBill statement will not reflect changes made after the Billing Date on the statement, so you should refer to the Student Account Balance in SIS when making your payment for the semester. 

  • Yes, you can send an email request to finaid@tufts.edu to specify the amount you want to borrow. Please be sure to include your Tufts ID in the message, and specify the loan(s) to be changed. 

    After the loan amount has been reduced, you must log into SIS to accept the loan.

  • Yes, you can email finaid@tufts.edu if you accidentally accepted or declined your loan, changed your mind, or would like to reduce your loan amount. Please be sure to include your Tufts ID in the message, and specify the loan(s) to be changed.

  • No, a student must be logged in to their own SIS account to accept or decline their loan(s).

Federal Parent PLUS Loans

 

Under this federally guaranteed loan program, parents may borrow up to the total amount of education costs less any financial aid. The student must submit a FAFSA in order for their parent to borrow a PLUS Loan. Please visit the Federal Student Aid Direct PLUS Loans for Parents website for complete program details.

PLUS Loan applications are submitted online through https://studentaid.gov. Parent borrowers may begin applying for a PLUS Loan for the 2024-2025 academic year as of 6/1/24.

Due to processing time and the high volume of requests, you should apply for a PLUS Loan no later than three weeks before your student's billing due date. Once the application process is complete and the loan is approved and certified, the funds will be credited (minus fees) to your student’s account as confirmation. You can log in to SIS to view the loan credit at that time. 

Federal Parent PLUS Loan - Rates and Fees
Academic YearInterest RateLoan Fee
2024-20259.08%4.288%

PLUS Loan Application Process

  • First time parent borrowers must also complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)
  • You can request to defer repayment while your student is enrolled at least half-time. Interest will accrue during deferment.
  • When prompted, we recommend that you request a specific loan amount or choose “maximum amount.”
  • Divide the desired net loan amount by .957 to account for the 4.288% loan fee. For example: To net $10,000 to the bill, divide $10,000 by .957 and request $10,449 as the loan amount.
  • You will be given a credit decision at the end of the application. If you are denied, you will be presented with the options described below.

If your PLUS Loan request is approved, a pending credit for the semester's loan will be automatically posted to your student’s account. The actual funds will disburse when classes begin.

PLUS Loan Denied Credit Decision

If you are denied a Parent PLUS loan due to adverse credit, you can choose one of three options:

  • Apply to borrow the loan with an endorser: An endorser is a credit-worthy cosigner who agrees to repay your Parent PLUS Loan if you do not repay the loan. After you designate an endorser, they must create their own FSA ID and complete an Electronic Endorser Addendum. In addition, you will be required to complete PLUS Credit Counseling once your endorser is accepted. 
  • Appeal the credit decision: If you feel you have extenuating circumstances or the information in your credit report is incorrect, you can provide documentation to the U.S Department of Education. You must also complete PLUS Credit Counseling as part of the appeal. 
  • Choose to have your student borrow an additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan: If you select the option to not pursue a PLUS Loan at this time, your student will be eligible to borrow an additional Unsubsidized Direct Loan in their own name up to $4,000 (first years and sophomores) or $5,000 (juniors and seniors) for the academic year. Your student can email their financial aid counselor to request the loan and specify the amount they need to borrow.

The U.S. Department of Education provides a list of conditions they consider as adverse credit history. They use this criteria to make their credit decision for Parent PLUS Loan applicants.

Undergraduate Alternative and Private Loans

Undergraduate students can choose to supplement their federal loan eligibility by borrowing from a private lender. Information about maximizing federal loan eligibility, and our formal review process for choosing the private lenders who appear on our list in ELM Select, can be found below. Please note that you are under no obligation to borrow from any of the listed lenders and can select any lender you prefer and apply directly with that lender.

Private loan applications are submitted online directly through the lender. Due to processing time and the high volume of requests, you should apply for a private loan no later than three weeks before your student's billing due date. Once the application process is complete and the loan is approved, Tufts will certify the loan and place a pending credit for the semester on your student's account as confirmation. You can log in to SIS to view the loan credit at that time.

Alternative and Private Loans - Rates and Fees
Academic YearInterest RatesLoan Fees
2024-2025varies by lender - View in ELM Selectvaries by lender - View in ELM Select

Federal Loan Eligibility

We encourage all students to apply for all federal grant and loan aid available and to use your maximum Federal Direct Loan eligibility before seeking any alternative or private loan, as there are many benefits associated with federal loan programs that are generally not available through private loans.

Private Lenders

A variety of banks and private lenders offer alternative loans for financing education costs for both graduate and undergraduate students and their families. Tufts has a formal process to review the loan offerings of most of the major lenders. Based on this review, we have chosen the lenders listed in ELM Select for their competitive rates,  borrower benefits, and superior customer service. Be assured that Tufts receives no benefits, financial or other, from these lenders for being on our preferred lender list.

You are under no obligation to borrow from any of these lenders. If you would like to borrow from a lender who is not listed, you can simply select the lender of your choice and apply directly with that lender. The lender will be responsible for getting your loan information to us.

You may borrow up to the cost of education minus any aid received.

Lenders offer private loan programs with different rates, fees, repayment terms, and approval requirements. We suggest that you carefully review each program to compare the terms and conditions before deciding which alternative loan may be appropriate for your needs. You can complete the application process directly through ELM Select.

When considering alternative loans, you should also review and compare to the Federal Parent PLUS Loan option.

Before borrowing, view each lender's terms and review their benefits. You may compare lender interest rates, benefits, fees, and terms by visiting ELM Select. ELM Select is hosted and maintained by ELM Resources to help students and parents choose the educational lender of their choice.

  • Tufts University has always been committed to the highest standards of professional conduct and ethical behavior.  We recognize that ensuring the integrity of the student financial aid process is critical to providing fair and affordable access to higher education.  With the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Congress has required that all colleges post a Code of Conduct relating to financial aid, private lending and student choice.  Accordingly, the staff in Student Financial Services herein confirms that we adhere to the following sound practices.

    I.  University employees do not receive any personal benefits from Lending Institutions   
    No member of the Student Financial Services staff will accept anything of more than nominal value on his or her behalf or on behalf of another person or entity from any Lending Institution.  For example, cash, stocks, gifts, entertainment, expense-paid trips, etc. will never be accepted from a Lending Institution. Likewise, an individual will never accept payment or reimbursement from a Lending Institution for lodging, meals or travel to conferences or training seminars.

    II.  The University does not provide any advantage to a Lending Institution   
    The staff in Student Financial Services does not accept anything of value from any Lending Institution in exchange for any advantage or consideration provided to the Lending Institution related to its student loan activities, including but not limited to revenue-sharing, printing costs or below-cost computer hardware or software.  Likewise, the University does not allow any Lending Institution to staff the Student Financial Services office or Student Services calling center at any time.

    III.  The University makes appropriate use of any Preferred Lender Lists   
    The selection of Lending Institutions for inclusion on the private/alternative loans Preferred Lender List is based solely on the best interests of University students and their parents without regard to the financial interests of the University. We abide by the following:

    • Students and their parents are free to select the Lending Institution of their choice for private/alternative loans and will suffer no penalty imposed by the University from using a Lending Institution that is not a “Preferred Lender.”
    • Students and their parents are not required to use any of the University private/alternative loan “Preferred Lenders” and may borrow through any lender or guarantor they choose.
    • The University does not assign a borrower’s loan to a particular lender and will certify all loans based on a borrower’s selection of a lender.

    IV.  University employees do not serve on lender advisory boards for remuneration   
    No officer, trustee or employee of the University who makes financial aid decisions for the University or who is employed in, supervises or otherwise has responsibility or authority over the University Student Financial Services office will receive any remuneration for serving as a member or participant on a student loan advisory board of a Lending Institution, or receive any reimbursement of expenses for such service.