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Loans are money that you can borrow to help pay for educational expenses.

Federal loans are the best starting place due to their flexible payback options and low interest rates.


Federally-subsidized student loan offered directly by the U.S. Department of Education. Interest and payments are deferred when you are enrolled at least half-time.


Federal student loan where you incur interest even while enrolled in school. Payments on the principal amount are deferred, but you are encouraged to pay the interest at least quarterly. If you don’t pay the interest, it is “capitalized” meaning that it is added to the original loan amount. You will be charged interest on the interest.

Common Question: What is the difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized Loan?


If you’re a dependent, your parents can request a federal Parent PLUS Loan to fill the gap between your financial aid and your Cost of Attendance. Boise State offers the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan through the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more about the Parent PLUS Loan.

Payments on the principal loan amount may be deferred for as long as you are enrolled at least half-time. Your parent does need to pay the interest monthly or quarterly during your enrollment. A credit check is required for this loan. If your parent is denied credit, you may receive an additional unsubsidized loan if your parent will not use a cosigner/endorser on the loan. It is also possible for your parent to provide additional documentation to the Direct Loan Servicer to have the credit decision reconsidered.


A federal loan to fill the gap between the Federal Direct Loans you receive and your Cost of Attendance. A credit check is required for this federal student loan. Lean more about the Graduate PLUS Loan.

There are times that a student will have to complete Loan Counseling. Also consider that there is a minimum amount of credits a student must be enrolled in and deadlines to receive federal loans.

There are origination fees associated with all federal loans that affect the net amount received. Please use our Loan Fee Calculator if you are wanting to receive a specific amount.

Information on Boise State's Cohort Default Rate

The Cohort Default Rate is a measure of federal student loan borrowers who entered repayment in a year but defaulted within the next three years.

  • Boise State’s 2017 draft Cohort Default Rate is 5.5%.
  • The national default rate for 2016 is 10.1%.
  • 33% of all 2018-19 undergraduate students borrowed a federal student loan.

Borrow wisely and contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions or need assistance connecting with resources during repayment.

Alternative student loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks. Before you take out a private loan, be sure that you have fully explored all federal funding options.


Alternative loans often require a credit check and may require a co-signer. Depending on the outcome of your credit check, these loans tend to be more expensive.

Alternative student loans may be used to fill the gap between your federal aid and your Cost of Attendance. Alternative loans are an option if federal aid is unavailable to you. View our list of alternative loan lenders here. Boise State does not endorse specific lenders and will process loans from any alternative loan lender, regardless of whether they appear on the list linked above.


These are the most expensive of all the student education loans. These loans are marketed to prospective borrowers by direct mail, email, internet ads, and TV commercials. The lenders may even be the same ones who offer the Alternative Student Loans, yet the interest rates and loan terms will be different. These loans typically are not “certified” by the Financial Aid Office and can be for more than the Cost of Attendance. Be very cautious about pursuing these loans.