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Loans & Payment Options

With financial aid at Chatham, there are lots of ways to pay for college. Here, we go through them with you.

Chatham's dedicated financial aid counselors are here to help all students to understand their options in financing their education. Even after you graduate, we are still here to help you with any of your loan repayment questions. 

International students may borrow a private non-federal loan if they are credit approved with a creditworthy United States citizen as a cosigner.

Loans & Lenders

Federal Loans are available to United States citizens and permanent residents only. In addition to a valid FAFSA students must be enrolled at least part time in a degree seeking program.  Federal student loans can only be used for the completion of degree requirements.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is awarded to students who have demonstrated financial need. Repayment and interest charges begin six months after graduation or cessation of at least half-time enrollment. Students must file a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive these funds.

Direct Stafford Loans are funded through the U.S. Department of Education using funds obtained from the US Treasury. More information on how to apply can be found below in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan section.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to all students who have been denied or show reduced eligibility for the need-based Federal Subsidized Student Loan. The Unsubsidized Stafford loan also provides additional loan eligibility to independent students.

While repayment begins six months after graduation or cessation of at least half-time enrollment, the student can make interest payments or have the interest capitalized during in-school, grace or deferment periods. Students must file a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive these funds. You do not have to complete a separate MPN for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Your signature on the MPN will remain valid, so you will not need to complete a new MPN annually.

To complete an MPN:

  1. Go to the Federal Student Aid website and click on the green "Sign In" button in the "Manage My Direct Loan" box.
  2. To sign in, you will need to provide your Social Security number, the first two characters of your last name, your date of birth, and your Department of Education issued PIN. This is the same PIN that you used to sign your FAFSA. If you do not have a PIN, or need to request a duplicate, you may do so online. The PIN will also act as your electronic signature on the MPN.
  3. Once you have signed in, there is a 'Complete MPN' link on the left-hand main menu.
  4. As a borrower, you must also complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This is an online counseling session that ensures that you understand your rights and obligations as a borrower. From your account, click on 'Complete Entrance Counseling' on the left-hand main menu.

Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan

The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan is a loan borrowed by a parent on the dependent student’s behalf. The parent must be credit-approved for the loan. This loan currently has a fixed interest rate of 7.9%, and the parent is able to defer the loan while the student is enrolled at least part-time. The PLUS loan is funded by the Department of Education. All parent borrowers must first complete a Parent PLUS Loan Application online. From the website, click on "Request PLUS Loan" to begin the application process. If credit approved for the loan, the parent borrower should then complete a PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note, also online. The Master Promissory Note must only be completed once, but the Parent PLUS Loan Application process must be completed for each year or term that the parent intends to borrow a Parent PLUS Loan. If a parent applies and is denied for the Parent PLUS Loan, the student may be eligible for additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan funding. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if your parent is denied for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan.

Entrance Counseling

Federal regulations require that all first-time Federal Direct Loan borrowers at Chatham University complete an Entrance Counseling Session. The purpose of this session is to inform all borrowers of their rights and responsibilities as a federal student loan borrower. This process, in addition to a completed Master Promissory Note (MPN), must be completed before your student loan can be credited to your account. Please complete this requirement promptly to avoid processing delays.

To complete your Entrance Counseling Session:

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website
  • Click on the "Log In" button
  • Sign in with the requested information
  • Click on the "Complete Counseling" link
  • Choose "Entrance Counseling" and follow the prompts

Please be sure that you also complete your Master Promissory Note (MPN):

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website
  • Click on the "Log In" button
  • Sign in with the requested information
  • Click on the "Complete Master Promissory Note" link
  • Complete your MPN for the loan type that you need (Subsidized/Unsubsidized or PLUS)
  • Please note that if you are a parent completing this for a PLUS loan, you must sign in with your FSA user ID.

Exit Counseling

Federal regulations require that anyone who has borrowed a Federal Direct Loan at Chatham University complete an Exit Counseling Session. The purpose of this session is to inform all federal student loan borrowers of their loan repayment rights and responsibilities. This is required anytime that your enrollment is less than half-time, you graduate or withdraw from the University.

To complete your Exit Counseling Session:

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website
  • Click on the "Log In" button
  • Sign in with the requested information
  • Click on the "Complete Counseling" link
  • Choose "Exit Counseling" and follow the prompts

After exhausting the opportunities available from the federal aid programs, many students will consider private loan programs as a source of funding. As always, taking on debt for any reason should be done deliberately and only for the amounts needed. Additional information regarding the availability of federal student aid is available from the Department of Education publication, Federal Aid First.

The terms and conditions of these credit-based private loan programs vary, and as such, students are encouraged to review the details of the programs before selecting a private loan program. Private loans are not eligible for loan consolidation programs made available for federal student loans. Interest rates, fees (both at the time of borrowing and at repayment), credit checks, and annual and aggregate loan limits require careful evaluation by the student as a consumer.

As part of the application process, students will be required to complete the Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form available through their lender's website. Information needed to complete this form, such as cost of attendance, may be obtained here, while estimated financial assistance may be obtained from the student’s Financial Aid Award Letter.

How to Choose a Private Lender

Getting Started

Private loans are funded through a lender, and choosing a lender is an important decision - it involves a financial obligation that will be a part of your life for many years to come. Picking a lender can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. You may choose any educational loan lender you prefer. Remember to always take advantage of your federal loan options first.

Below is a historical list of lenders who continue to participate in the private loan program and who within the last three years Chatham University students have used. The University does not endorse any lender. You may choose any educational loan lender you prefer.

Historical Lender List


Be Financial-Aid-Savvy and Do Your Research

Before you apply for the loan you will want to make sure you have done your research. Here are loan term definitions you should know before applying:

  • Master promissory note: This is the agreement between you and the lender that you will re-pay the money when you graduate or fall below part time status. This is a legal contract. Please keep a copy for your records.
  • Interest rate: The interest rate for the Stafford loan, Perkins loan and Plus loans are fixed. For a private loan the interest rate will vary. While you may see a low interest rate on a lender's website keep in mind that the low interest rate may depend on qualifying for the lender's benefit program.
  • Loan fees: Some lenders will charge you an origination fee to use them as a lender while others will not. Remember that no origination fees do not save you any money in repayment, but you will receive more money up front.
  • Interest rate reductions for using automatic payments: Some lenders will reduce your interest rate if you repay your loan through pre-scheduled automatic bank debits. Although the reduction in interest rate varies, the reduction is typically 0.25%.
  • Libor: A term used for private student loans. This is the 3 month average of the London Interbank Offered Rate. LIBOR is the average interest rate paid on deposits of US dollars in the London market. APR - the Annual Percentage Rate, a rate that factors in the interest rate, fees, and other terms.
  • Prime: The Prime Lending Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal. This is the rate banks charge their most creditworthy customers.
  • Loan limits: The aggregate loan limit for the Stafford loan is specific to the type of student you are. For private loans, the aggregate limit is based on each lender's terms. This is the maximum you can borrow per year, as well as your entire time in school.
  • Repayment terms: This is the amount of time you have to pay back the loan.
  • Postponement options: If you need to postpone making payments, you can take advantage of deferment and forbearance options. Call your lender to learn more.

Know What Questions to Ask and What to Look For

Some questions you may want to ask are:

  1. How often do you capitalize interest during postponement periods?
  2. What are your repayment benefits? What percent of borrowers receive these benefits?
  3. What do I have to do to receive these benefits and how are the benefits lost?
  4. If I borrow $10,000 over my college career and I receive all these benefits, what will be the total dollar amount I will owe by the end of my 10 year repayment?
  5. If I borrow $10,000 over my college career and I receive NONE of these benefits, what will be the total dollar amount I will repay by the end of my repayment?
  6. Do you have a history of selling your loans?
  7. How long have you been originating private loans?
  8. What kind of debt management education do you provide?
  9. How quickly can I talk to a real person when I call? How long am I on hold?
  10. Is the lender able to provide insight and borrower education from pre-enrollment through repayment?

What Happens Next?

You have selected a lender, now it is time to apply using their website! Did you know that peak processing begins before school starts in the fall? Our sample timeline will guide you through the loan processes.

April/May - Shop around for your lender.
June - On your lender's website complete the application/promissory note. Please note, at that time your co-signer must also complete his/her portion of the application. Follow up with your lender 4-5 days after completing the application. This is the time to verify that your application is complete and that no further information is required. (Common missing items include a copy of a driver's license, pay stub, or co-signer signature.)
July - The lender will then notify the financial office office will begin the process of certifying your student loan.
August-September - The lender will electronically send the loan funds to Chatham University.

Please note that individual loan providers have their own applications and timelines. Plan to apply at least 45 days prior to the date the bill is due.

Borrowers may compare lender discounts and other borrower benefits with the following loan comparison tools:

Chatham University adheres to the Financial Aid Code of Conduct based on the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. 

Chatham University does not participate in any preferred lender arrangements or preferred lender lists for private loans. Students have the right and ability to use the lender of their choice for their private loan.

Payment Options

Chatham University accepts tuition payments by cash, check or money order made payable to Chatham University, or credit card (MasterCard, American Express, and Discover). Payments may be made online or at the Student Accounts Office in person, by mail, or by phone. Student may also pay online through the student portal. There is a 2% processing fee on the total payment amount for all credit card transactions. This is true for payments completed on the portal as well as in the office. Credit Cards accepted are MasterCard, Discover and American Express. It is very important to remember that you, the student, are ultimately responsible for payment of your student account, regardless of actions taken, or not taken, by your employer.

Tuition Installment Plans provide families options to finance charges without interest over the course of the year or term. Each of the plans below have a one-time $25.00 application fee, which is due at time of enrollment into the plan. Chatham University uses ECSI to process and maintain both of our Tuition Installment Plans.

YEAR-BASED (10-Month) Installment Plan: This plan offers ten equal payments of your remaining balance (after financial aid) over the course of the fall and spring terms. Monthly installments begin on July 15, 2020 and continue through April 15, 2021.

TERM-BASED (4-Month) Installment Plan: This plan offers four payments of your remaining balance (after financial aid) over the course of either the fall or spring term. Payments for the fall term begin on July 15, 2020 and end October 15, 2020. Payments for the spring term begin on December 15, 2020 and end on March 15, 2021. Please contact the Office of Student Accounts for additional information regarding the 2020-21 Tuition Installment Plan Options.

Undergraduate families have the option of paying their student’s full year tuition bill before the start of the fall term. By paying in full on or before July 15, 2020, the family will receive a discount equal to 2% of the total tuition balance due for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms. Eligibility Undergraduate students enrolled full-time at Chatham for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 terms are eligible. Students must be registered for classes and in good financial standing with the University. Charges for items not included in tuition must be paid as they become due. Leave of Absence/Withdrawal In the event the student requests and is granted an official leave of absence or withdrawal from the University, a refund of prepaid tuition will be made for the current year in accordance with the Chatham University Institutional Refund Policy. For additional information or to enroll in the Full-Year Tuition Payment Program, please contact Chatham University Office of Student Accounts, Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA 15232.