Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to complete the FAFSA?
Students who may be eligible for federal or state grants are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to document and verify your family's financial information as well as to determine whether you qualify for more desirable forms of financial aid.
When should I apply?
Federal regulations that went into effect in February 2010 significantly increased the time needed to process a SELF Loan. Additional steps are required along with mandatory waiting periods. The minimum processing and disbursement time is approximately three weeks if all of the steps are done promptly. Additional time should be allowed for the school to certify the loan. Because of this, you should apply at least four weeks ahead of when you need the money.
What is the SELF V interest rate?
The fixed rate SELF V loan has an interest rate of 6.9 percent. The interest rate will not change over the life of the loan.
The variable rate SELF V loan has an interest rate that changes every quarter. The current interest rate is 3.3 percent. The interest charged is the sum of the margin (currently 3.0 percent) added to the index, which is based on the average three-month London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) rate during the previous calendar quarter rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent. There is a 3 percent cap on interest rate changes during any 12-month period. The interest rate is not tied to any credit scoring. All students are charged the same interest rate.
What are the historic interest rates?
View a chart of historic SELF Loan interest rates.
What are the repayment terms?
There are no grace periods or deferment options. SELF Loans cannot be included in a federal loan consolidation. Payments of interest are required even while in school. You must begin quarterly payments (interest only) within 90 days after disbursement, and quarterly interest payments continue as long as you are properly enrolled at the school and have not entered a required repayment period.
For SELF V Loans, the loan must enter repayment no later than nine years from the disbursement date. When you finish your study, unless you are already in a required repayment period, you have two repayment options:
- The Standard Plan requires monthly payment of interest for one year after you leave school and then monthly payments of principal and interest until the loan is paid in full.
- The Extended Interest Plan provides two more years of monthly interest only before starting principal repayment.
The maximum repayment period for SELF V Loans is determined by the balances on all of your SELF Loans:
- If the aggregate principal loan balances from all SELF phases are less than $20,000, the repayment term on the SELF V Loans shall not exceed 10 years from when you leave school.
- If the balances are $20,000 up to $40,000, the repayment term on the SELF V Loans shall not exceed 15 years from when you leave school.
- For balances of $40,000 and greater, the repayment term on the SELF V Loans shall not exceed 20 years from when you leave school.
There is no penalty for early payment.
What are the requirements for a co-signer?
A credit-worthy co-signer must be:
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident 24 years of age or older, or 18 years if a sibling (i.e., a brother or sister) of the borrower.
- Someone with an address in the United States.
- Someone who has no credit bureau balances discharged through bankruptcy, no garnishments, attachments, foreclosures, repossessions, or suits; no more than $300 combined total in unsatisfied credit or unsatisfied payment obligations; and no more than 5 percent of credit bureau balances past due.
What happens if I change schools or enroll in a graduate program?
If you transfer to another school or go on to graduate school, you can make interest only payments ONLY if you transfer before the 12-36 month Transition Period elapses, have not entered a required repayment period, continue to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis and ONLY if the school to which you transfer is an eligible one. View a list of schools participating in the SELF program.
Can I capitalize my SELF interest instead of making quarterly payments?
The SELF Loan does not allow you to capitalize in-school interest like some other student loan programs do. Capitalizing interest increases your monthly payment and the amount of money you will eventually repay.
There are benefits of paying interest while in school:
- The overall amount of interest you pay will be less.
- The quarterly bills will keep you aware of your loan balance and the associated interest cost of your loan.
See example of the benefits of paying interest while in school instead of capitalizing interest.
Who do I contact if I have a question or problem with my SELF Loan?
Firstmark Services is the loan servicer for the SELF program:
|Borrower Customer Service:
||Toll-free 1-888-295-0713 (Automated 24 Hours)
|Representatives are available:
||Monday - Friday 7:00am to 8:00pm Central Time
|Loan information is also available via www.Firstmarkservices.com|
PO Box 2977
Omaha, NE 68103-2977
Attn: Private Loans
PO Box 82522
Lincoln, NE 68501-2522
If, after calling Firstmark Services, you still have concerns about your SELF Loan, you are encouraged to follow the formal Appeals Process for SELF Loans. Contact the Office of Higher Education at 1-800-657-3866 or 651-642-0567 for the Appeals Form.