- Am I eligible for a PA Forward Graduate Loan?
To qualify, you must:
- Be a student enrolled or plan to be enrolled seeking an advanced degree such as masters, doctoral, law, health profession, certificate, diploma, or others at an eligible school
- Be a PA resident attending an approved schoolin or out of PA or a student from an approved state (DE, MD, NJ, NY, OH, VA, and WV) attending an approved PA school
Federally-approved educational institution under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen of the U.S.
- Be a borrower/co-signer who meets the minimum credit requirements
- Be a student regardless of enrollment status, including if you are enrolled less than half-time1
NOTE: PA Forward Student Loans are separate from the PHEAA Pennsylvania State Grant. Eligibility for a PA State Grant does not mean you will be approved for a PA Forward Student Loan.
- How much can I borrow?
- Each year, you may borrow up to 100% certified cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, board, books, transportation expenses, and miscellaneous expenses) minus any financial aid you are receiving (including other loans and work-study) as certified by your school's financial aid office.
- Aggregate loan limitsfor a PA Forward Student Loan ($300,000)2 apply.
Aggregate loan limits
Total amount of PA Forward Student Loans borrowed and disbursed during a student’s academic career.
NOTE: Less than half-time students may only borrow a maximum of $5,000.
- The minimum loan amount is $1,500.
- ARE THERE ANY FEES OR PENALTIES?
No, there is no pre-payment penalty and no application, origination, or late fees.
- Do I need a co-signer?
If you have not reached theage of majoritybased on the law of your state of residence, you will be required to obtain a
Age of Majority
The age a person is considered an adult.co-signer. You may also be required to obtain a co-signer if you don’t meet the minimum credit requirements.
A co-signer is a person who accepts equal responsibility for the repayment of the loan.NOTE: Approval for private education loans is based on your credit score, credit history, and debt-to-income ratio. Although you may not be required to obtain a co-signer, you may benefit from acreditworthyco-signer if you do not meet the minimum credit requirements. Having a co-signer may increase your chances that the loan will be approved and, perhaps, may get you a better interest rate.
Having a satisfactory credit rating
- What is Co-signer Release?
The PA Forward Student Loan Program allows for co-signers to be released from their responsibilities after meeting certain requirements.
Co-signer release requirements include:
- Making 48 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest while in repayment, excluding deferment and forbearance time
- Payments are considered on-time if they are received no later than 15 days after the due date
- A lump sumpayment counts as one qualifying payment
An amount paid all at once, that is equal to two or more monthly installment payments.
NOTE: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all payments due between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020 count as a qualifying payment for the purposes of co-signer release, regardless of if the payment was made.
- Upon completion of making 48 consecutive on-time payments, the borrower must provide proof of income, as well as pass a debt-to-income calculation and credit check
- Must be in repayment making your full billed monthly payment amount
- The use of any deferment or forbearance will not count toward the co-signer release payment counter. The payment counter will resume once the deferment or forbearance ends
If you would like to apply for this benefit or have questions, please contact the servicer of the loan, American Education Services (AES) at 1-800-233-0557 Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM (ET).
NOTE: Both the borrower and any co-signer remain responsible for the student loan account until the co-signer release request is approved, if applicable.
Once the co-signer is released, they will no longer be held responsible for the repayment of loan. This responsibility will remain solely with the original borrower of the loan.
- DOES PA FORWARD OFFER A GRACE PERIOD?
You are eligible for one 6-month grace period from the date of graduation or from the date you stop being enrolled at least half-time.
- WHAT IS PA FORWARD’S Graduate LOAN CANCELLATION POLICY?
You can be granted a full refund within 120 days of disbursement.
- What is the interest rate on the PA Forward Graduate Loan?
We offer competitive, fixed interest rates, which means you never need to worry about your interest rate going up! Check out the rate range today.
- WHAT ARE PA FORWARD’S INTEREST RATE REWARDS?
PA Forward has two great interest rate rewards, which could save you a total of 0.75% off your fixed interest rate:
- Graduation benefit: Once we receive notification that you graduated, we will apply a 0.50% interest rate reduction to your account.
- Direct Debit benefit: Once you apply and are approved for our free, automatic electronic payment service (Direct Debit), we will apply a 0.25% interest rate reduction to your account.
Direct Debit is a free service that sets up an electronic deduction from your checking or savings account each month.
- I recently graduated; when will I receive my 0.50% interest rate reduction?
Most schools automatically send enrollment information to your servicer, AES, within several weeks of graduation. Once received, your account will be updated to reflect the interest rate reduction. The rate reduction will be retroactively applied to the date of your graduation.
If it has been more than three months since your graduation and you haven’t been notified your account automatically received the interest rate reduction, contact your school’s registrar. A certified copy of your diploma or transcript showing you have graduated will need to be sent to AES by either you or your school.
- What is Direct Debit?
Direct Debit is a free, automated payment service. It's not only convenient—you don't have to write a check or pay for a stamp—you will also qualify for a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you are approved for Direct Debit.
- What are my repayment plan options?
- Immediate Repayment- If you want to get a head start on paying back your loan right
away, this is the option to choose. With this option you will:
disbursement. For less than half-time students, Immediate Repayment is the only repayment plan option.
- Be eligible for the lowest interest rate available
- Pay your loan off earlier by making principal and interest payments while in school
- Pay the least amount of interest over the life of the loan compared to the other repayment plan options
Disbursement is the transfer of loan funds from a lender to the school
- Interest Only- If you want to avoid interest capitalizationthis is the repayment option for you! With this option you will:
Capitalization is the addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of a loan. Capitalization of interest results in a higher principal balance and additional finance charges over the course of repayment and may cause your monthly amount to increase.
- Be responsible to pay the accrued interest during school
- Enter repayment with the starting principal balance of the original amount you borrowed
A grace period is a 6-month period before the first payment on a loan is due. The grace period begins the day after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status and ends the day before repayment begins.
- Partial Interest Payment- To get a head start on paying the interest that accrues
on your loan; this is a great option for you! With this option you will:
- Be required to pay a fixed $25.00 a month payment3 that is applied toward your loan while you are in school
- Have less interest capitalize when you enter repayment
- Full Deferral- If you don’t want to worry about making payments until you leave school, this option is available to you! With this option you will not need to make payments while in school; however, will end up paying the most amount of money over the life of the loan compared to the other repayment plan options NOTE: Payments will not be due until after you separate from school and any applicable grace period has expired.
- Immediate Repayment- If you want to get a head start on paying back your loan right away, this is the option to choose. With this option you will:
- WHAT IS THE MINIMUM MONTHLY PAYMENT?
The minimum monthly payment for a PA Forward Student Loan is $50.00 a month, unless you select the Interest Only or Partial Interest Payment repayment plans. You have the option to choose between three terms4 to make repayment fit your needs:
NOTE: The longer your term, the more interest you could pay over the life of the loan.
- What do I need to apply?
Below are the items you should have ready when filling out your application:
- Name, address, and telephone number
- Date of birth and Social Security number
- Email address
- Name and location of school you are or plan on attending
- Annual income
- Grade level and anticipated graduation date
- Academic period for which you would like to receive the loan
- Co-signer's name and email address (if applicable)
- Mobile phone to receive one-time passcode for electronic signature
- How do I save money on simple interest loans?
There are three easy ways to save money on your loan:
- Pay early: If you make your payment before your due date, more of the payment will be applied toward principal.
- Pay more frequently: Making payments more frequently, such as making biweekly payments, can help lower your principal balance and interest amount paid. By making payments every 2 weeks you end up making an extra full payment a year.
- Pay extra: Making a lump sumor paying more than your monthly payment can lower your principal faster, which means you accrue less interest.
An amount paid all at once, that is equal to two or more monthly installment payments.
2 The aggregate loan amount of $300,000 is a combination of PA Forward Undergraduate and Graduate loans.
3 Partial Interest Payment – After the in-school and grace periods, any unpaid interest will be repaid along with principal. For example, a borrower of a $10,000.00 loan will pay $25.00 per month for 52 months (46 months in school and 6 months in grace). Following that time period, if that borrower selected a 10-year repayment plan and received a periodic interest rate of 6.10%, the borrower would have an APR of 5.53%, monthly payments of $122.26 for 120 months, and a total amount repaid of $15,971.63. The borrower in this sample qualified for a 0.25% Direct Debit benefit for the entirety of the repayment period and a 0.50% graduation benefit applied at the end of the 52-month partial interest period.
4 Repayment Terms (No interest rate discounts were applied to these examples.) –
- A borrower of a $10,000 loan who selects a 5-year (60 months) repayment term may receive an APR between 4.09% and 6.59%, monthly principal and interest payments between $184.62 and $261.03, and a total amount repaid between $11,077.01 and $15,661.89.
- A borrower of a $10,000 loan who selects a 10-year (120 months) repayment term may receive an APR between 5.29% and 7.17%, monthly principal and interest payments between $107.54 and $159.70, and a total amount repaid between $12,904.55 and $19,164.50.
- A borrower of a $10,000 loan who selects a 15-year (180 months) repayment term may receive an APR between 5.79% and 7.69%, monthly principal and interest payments between $83.31 and $131.09, and a total amount repaid between $14,995.62 and $23,596.64.
Please note these APRs are estimates and may differ from the actual rates received.
5 Loans taken for less than half-time are only eligible for 5- and 10-year repayment term.
NOTE: Subject to aggregate loan limits.
The PA Forward Student Loan Program is a credit-based loan program. Applicants, including co-signers, are subject to credit qualifications, completion of an application and credit agreement, and verification of application information. PHEAA uses applicant FICO score to determine eligibility and interest rates. Higher credit scores may mean an applicant is offered a lower interest rate.
PHEAA reserves the right to discontinue all programs or benefits without prior notice.