University of Phoenix Student Loans

University of Phoenix StudentThe University of Phoenix is a for-profit institution providing a multitude of options for those seeking higher education in a non-traditional format. With both online learning courses and over 100 physical campuses across the nation for those desiring a more hands-on approach, the University of Phoenix offers opportunities to pursue associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees. Certificate-earning programs for many fields are also available as are test preparation courses and professional development opportunities.

Potential students are sure to find a program that meets their unique needs. College graduates earn an average of $650,000 more than their peers holding only a high school diploma over their lifetimes, as reported by Forbes, making college a positive choice to help elevate careers.

Highlights of University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix strives to help students increase their earning potential and employs faculty members with first-hand knowledge and experience in their subject matter to help make programs career-focused and immediately applicable in the real world. Most students are adults working full-time and juggling a variety of responsibilities outside of school. Evening courses and mobile options are designed to be flexible and work around this already hectic schedule.  On-campus classes are generally small and intimate, and students are encouraged to work in small peer groups to complete projects. Online courses also offer group forums to connect with other students. Professors are accessible as are guidance counselors.

The University of Phoenix boasts a large alumni base with many networking opportunities open to its students. If you are still unsure if the University of Phoenix is right for you, you can actually enroll in your first credit-bearing university course in an eligible degree program for up to three weeks completely free under the Risk-Free Period Program. The University of Phoenix prides itself on its customer service and accessibility for its students as well as support all the way through and even following graduation. You can call and speak with an Enrollment Representative or fill out a request for information on the University of Phoenix website for more information on applying.

Costs Associated With Attendance

Since the University of Phoenix is a for-profit institution, costs associated with tuition may be slightly higher than those of a public university or college; however, many forms of financial aid are available. Students live off campus and commute to the school or even attend online courses in the comfort of their homes. Living arrangements, and therefore the cost of living, remains generally the same as before attending school. Tuition, fees, and books will vary depending on your chosen degree program, field of study, method of study (e.g., online or face to face), and campus location.

In order to help you calculate your cost of attendance, you can use the University of Phoenix’s Financial Plan with Net Cost Calculator tool. In order to receive the most accurate estimate, you should have your tax information, prior college credits, savings, and other relevant financial information on hand. Remember that this is only an estimate and actual costs may vary upon enrollment. You can always speak to an enrollment representative for more details.

Scholarship Opportunities

One of the first things you should do when considering higher education is determine how you will afford it. Fortunately, there are many financial aid options. First and foremost, you should look into any free money that you might qualify for in the form of grants or scholarships. Many organizations and institutions offer scholarships for a multitude of reasons to a variety of different people, including scholarships based on age, gender, ethnic background, where you live, religious affiliation, field of study, and more. These are offered through third parties and should be applied for directly. Leave no stone unturned; check with any organization you may belong to as well as your employer, local clubs, churches, minority organizations, state government etc.

Other types of scholarship to be aware of are institutional scholarships funded by the University of Phoenix. The Center for Scholarship Excellence (CSE) provides extensive information on the different scholarships programs offered through a partnership with non-profit organizations through the University to current and prospective students.

Institutional Grants

The University of Phoenix offers the Thinking Ahead Grant, which is considered an institutional grant, to eligible new students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program. In order to qualify, you must have an expected family contribution (EFC) between zero and $12,500 and incur fees between $200 and $1,500 per award year that are not covered by state or federal financial aid. You also must be enrolled continuously and not take any unapproved breaks longer than 14 days at a time.

The amount you may receive is calculated based on your maximum federal financial aid eligibility, no matter how much you actually borrowed. Money is applied up to twice each academic year as a disbursement directly into your student account to cover tuition and fees. You cannot use the funds on failed or withdrawn courses, cash or check refunds, nor can you receive award money directly. In order to determine if you qualify for the Thinking Ahead Grant, contact a member of your graduation team or an enrollment representative.

Federal Financial Aid Programs

Chances are that if you are considering higher education, you will need some form of assistance in affording it. Federal financial aid should be one of your first choices. The U.S. Department of Education funds grants, loans, and work-study programs for as many as 15 million students and awards around $150 billion a year. Grants are money that doesn’t have to be paid back, while loans offered by the federal government are low-cost and low-interest, offering flexible repayment plans for students. Federal student grants are offered to students who demonstrate financial need and include:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

Perhaps the most widely used at University of Phoenix is the Pell Grant for low-income students, as data from the U.S. Department of Education shows as many as 50% of its undergraduate students are using Pell Grant funds. Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students seeking their first bachelor’s degree. The amount you may receive depends on your financial need, cost of attendance at your school, full-time or part-time student status, and your plans to attend school for the entire academic year. The maximum award amount for the 2019-2020 academic school year is $6,195 for up to 12 semesters or six years.

Federal Student Loans

After exhausting all forms of free money, federal student loans are often the next choice. With a federal student loan, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender and loans are disbursed through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Types of Direct Loans include:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans

With a subsidized loan, the government pays your interest for you, while with an unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest. Subsidized loans require a demonstration of financial need while unsubsidized loans do not. Direct Loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as their parents, depending on the type of loan requested. Interest rates are generally low and fixed, and the amount you can borrow  ranges from $5,500 to $20,500 a year, depending on your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you are already receiving, your year in school, dependent status, degree program, and type of loan to name a few. For current borrowing amounts and interest rates, check the website.

Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid

In order to qualify for student federal financial aid programs, you must meet certain eligibility requirements including:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Males must be registered (between the ages of 18 and 25) for the U.S. Selective Service
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Be accepted or enrolled in a regular degree program in an eligible certificate or degree program
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress while in school
  • Agree to use funds for educational purposes only
  • Not be in default on any other federal loans

Many federal financial aid programs also require that applicants demonstrate financial need as well. You must reapply for federal financial aid each year, and funds are either disbursed to the school directly or to you for education-related expenses. You should only borrow as much as you need even if you are eligible for more. This will make it easier to pay back once you leave school and enter into your repayment period.

FAFSA and How to Apply

Students filling out the FAFSA

In order to apply for any type of federal financial aid, you will first need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You can do this online or via mail. When applying online, you will need to create a FSA ID, which acts as a digital signature and allows you secure access to all of your federal financial aid information as well as submit your FAFSA.

To create a FSA ID, you will need your name, date of birth, and Social Security number handy. Once created, you can use it to apply and reapply for federal financial aid online each year. To complete your FAFSA, you will also need your tax information, relevant financial information, and parents’ Social Security numbers and financial information if you are a dependent student. Dependent students are under 24, unmarried, have no dependents of their own, and are seeking an undergraduate degree.

The FAFSA will calculate your expected family contribution (EFC) in order to determine how much and what type of federal financial aid you may qualify for. You then have the option to accept the aid and amounts offered. In order to receive a federal student loan, you will need to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) that details your rights and responsibilities as a borrower, your loan terms, and your intention to pay the loan back. No matter what your status, filling out a FAFSA is a good idea as it doesn’t cost you anything and you may be entitled to free money or low-cost loans.

Private Student Loans

If grants, scholarships, and federal loans still aren’t quite enough to cover your costs at the University of Phoenix, private student loans are an option to help you bridge the gap. Private student loans are offered by financial institutions and organizations as well as some schools and states. Private loans will vary as to how much you can borrow, and interest rates are generally higher than those on federal student loans.

In order to apply for a private student loan, most organizations will run a credit check. Often, you will need a co-signer in order to qualify for the best rates. You will need to check with individual private financial institutions for more information on the rates and terms of private student loans. The University of Phoenix does not endorse any particular lender or offer loans directly.

Other Financial Options

The University of Phoenix strives to make higher education accessible to all working adults and offers many flexible financial options in order to achieve this goal. One such option is the Cash Plan, where you can pay your fees and tuition as you go, one course at a time. The Military or Government Billing Plan is an option for government employees as well as U.S. Armed Forces active duty military personnel and veterans. With this plan, the University bills the military or your organization directly. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must first determine your eligibility in order to bill the military for your educational expenses. Montgomery GI Bill benefits are not included in this plan.

If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, you have a few options as well. The Third-Party Billing Plan will bill your employer directly while the Tuition Deferral Plan gives a 60-day grace period for those whose employers reimburse for education. This allows you to receive funds from your employer before making your payment to the University of Phoenix. Be sure to talk to an advisor to determine if any of these plans are right for you.