Frequently Asked Questions
What is the SELF V interest rate?
The interest rate is 6.9% for the SELF fixed rate loan. The interest rate never changes.
NOTE: The SELF fixed interest rate for loan applications started on April 1, 2015 or later will have an interest rate of 6.5%. You may want to delay applying for a fixed-rate loan if you do not need the funds immediately. Fixed-rate loans currently in process or fixed-rate loan applications started prior to April 1 will have the current rate of 6.9% for the life of the loan.
The current interest rate is 3.2% for the SELF variable rate loan. The interest rate can change quarterlyevery three months. The interest rate is the sum of the margin (currently 3.0%) added to the index, which is based on the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) rate. The interest rate will not change more than 3% during any 12-month period.
All students are charged the same interest rate depending upon whether the fixed or variable rate is selected. The interest rate you will be charged is not tied to any credit scoring.
What are the historic interest rates?
How Much Can I Borrow?
|Program Type||Annual Limit||Cumulative Limit|
Loan amounts are based on your grade level which is your status in an educational program. For example, if you are in the second year of a four-year program, you would be in grade level 2, even though you may have been in school for more than two years. Your grade level will be determined by your school.
You may borrow up to the maximum amount for each grade level as long as you don't exceed the cumulative limits. You need to borrow at least $500.
What are the repayment terms?
- You need to pay interest every three months while you are in school starting within 90 days from when you receive the money.
- You must start repaying your SELF V Loans no later than nine years from when you received the money.
- There are no grace periods or deferment options.
- SELF Loans cannot be included in a federal loan consolidation.
- There is no penalty for early payment.
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 principal and interest starting 13 months after you leave school or attend less than half-time.
- The Extended Interest Plan allows you to continue with two more years of monthly interest payments before starting to repay the amount you borrowed.
How long you have to pay off the loan depends on how much you borrow from the SELF program. The minimum payment is $50 a month. You have up to 10 years to repay your loan if you borrowed less than $20,000. If you borrowed between $20,000 and $40,000, you have 15 years. For $40,000 or more, 20 years.
What are the requirements for a co-signer?
A credit-worthy co-signer must be:
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident 24 years or older or 18 years if a brother or sister.
- Someone with an address in the United States.
- Someone who has no accounts discharged through bankruptcy; no liens or judgments; no more than $300 in negative credit accounts; and no more than 5% of accounts 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 if:
- you transfer within three years from when you leave school or attend less than half-time;
- have not entered a required repayment period;
- you are enrolled at least half-time; and
- the new school is eligible. 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 add your in-school interest onto your loan balance 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 and
- quarterly bills keep you aware of your loan balance and the interest cost of your loan.
When should I apply?
You should apply at least four weeks ahead of when you need money.
Do I need to complete the FAFSA?
You are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether you qualify for federal or state grants unless you are a graduate student or attending a school that does not participate in federal or state grant programs.
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.
If, after calling Firstmark Services, you still have concerns about your SELF Loan, you are encouraged to send a letter or email to the Office of Higher Education explaining your concerns:
MN Office of Higher Education
PO Box 64449
St Paul, MN 55164
Can you explain some of the terms that are used in talking about loans?
View a Gossary of Loan Terms.