Delaware Student Loans
If you are a resident of the beautiful and largely rural state of Delaware, or wish to attend one of the four-year and degree-granting institutions in the state, you are likely looking at living in or around one of the more populated cities such as Dover, Newark, or Wilmington. These cities, primarily located in the northern part of the state, are where the majority of higher education options will be located. The two biggest universities in Delaware are the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.
The University of Delaware is a top research university that is home to more than 17,000 undergraduate students and close to 4,000 graduate students. The main campus is in the city of Wilmington; however, there are additional campuses located in the Delaware cities of Georgetown, Dover, and Lewes as well as international facilities in Paris and London.
Nestled in the state capital city of Dover, Delaware State University offers 53 undergraduate, 25 master’s degree, and five doctoral degree programs to its culturally diverse student body. Delaware State University has a rich and storied heritage, earning the distinction of one of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The university started out with highly acclaimed education and agricultural programs, and today, has expanded into the fields of science and modern technology.
In order to be eligible for financial aid at colleges or universities in Delaware, typically, you must first complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This application compiles all your financial information to produce a student aid report, or SAR, which highlights what types of student financial aid you are eligible for.
Each school may have their own scholarships or grants, which are free money options that don’t have to be repaid. For instance, the University of Delaware offers around 200 scholarships, with an average amount of $2,000, that you will automatically be considered for after completing and submitting your FAFSA and school application within the appropriate timeline. Deadlines for submission may differ depending on your school. The federal FAFSA completion deadline for financial aid is June 30th for the academic year 2015-2016, while the state of Delaware’s deadline is April 15th. Each individual college or university may have their own deadlines as well, and you should be sure to check with the financial aid office at your college or university for more information.
Federal Pell Grants, TEACH Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and university-based grants are awarded based on your SAR and eligibility determined by the FAFSA information. Outside scholarships or grants may have their own application process, and you should be sure to check with these organizations directly.
After all forms of free money are exhausted, student loans are the next viable option. Your FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal student loans, and private student loans, or alternative loans, are offered through financial institutions such as banks or credit unions that require a separate application. Federal student loans include those disbursed through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program or the Federal Perkins Loan Program.
Direct Loans are offered to undergraduate and graduate students, and parents of undergraduate students. They generally have low interest rates and favorable repayment options. There are four Direct Loan options: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Parent PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans. Federal Perkins Loans are offered to both undergraduate and graduate students demonstrating extreme financial need and are only offered at participating schools. Check with your financial aid office at your school to find out if they offer Perkins Loans. By completing your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will determine which of these loans you qualify for. The federal government will be your lender for these loans.
Out-of-State Tuition vs. In-State Tuition Rates
Tuition is generally lower for residents of Delaware attending schools within the state. For example, the University of Delaware’s tuition rates for the academic year of 2014-2015 were $12,342 for undergraduate resident students while out-of-state students paid tuition rates of $30,692 for the same year.
Delaware is one of 15 states that participates in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) program, inviting residents to seek degree options not offered at schools in their home state at participating out-of-state schools for in-state tuition rates. This means that if you want to get a degree in a field of study not offered at a school in Delaware, you can expand your search radius out of state and still pay resident tuition rates. The SREB’s Academic Common Market offers 1,900 graduate and undergraduate degree programs to choose from among the 15 states and their participating colleges and universities. To apply for this program, you must first certify that you are resident of Delaware and choose an eligible program through the Academic Common Market. You will then need to complete an application through your chosen college or university. Student loans may be available to offset remaining costs.
The Student Excellence Equals Degree, or SEED, program is meant to provide all Delaware residents with good grades with the opportunity to seek higher education regardless of finances. The SEED program covers all tuition costs for eligible students to attend Delaware Technical Community College or enroll in the University of Delaware’s Associate’s in Arts Program (AAP) and requires a supplemental application beyond the FAFSA.
Additional state-based grants and scholarships may be available, and to apply, students should complete the Common Merit Scholarship Application by logging into, or creating, their student account through the DDOE’s Office of Higher Education. Certain educational fields of study or degree programs also have state incentive loan or loan forgiveness programs, such as:
- Delaware Teachers Corps: This loan program is offered to students meeting academic criteria and enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate teaching certification program in an area defined by the DOEE as a critical need area. Loans may not exceed cost of tuition and are forgiven at a rate of one year of teaching in a Delaware public school per one year of loan, provided for up to three years.
- Christa McAuliffe Teacher Incentive Program: Loans are provided to Delaware residents meeting academic criteria who are enrolled as an undergraduate seeking a teaching certification with priority given to those planning to teach in a critical need area. Loans are renewable for up to three years and may cover the cost of tuition, school fees, and other educational expenses. They are forgiven at a rate of one year of loan per one year of teaching in a Delaware public school.
- Delaware Nursing Incentive Program: Forgivable loans are provided for Delaware residents, or current state employees, to cover the full amount of tuition, fees, and educational expenses for up to three years for those full-time students enrolled in an accredited program resulting in an RN or LPN certification. If you are already an RN and have five years of state service, you may receive this loan for enrollment in a BSN program as well. Specific academic standards apply. To have the loan forgiven, students must work at a state-owned hospital or clinic for each year of loan to be forgiven.
- Delaware State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) for Health Professionals: This program helps state-licensed and practicing health professionals in the mental health, primary care, or dentistry fields that are considered Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) repay qualified student loans obtained through an accredited graduate program. This program is made possible through a Health Resources and Services Administration SLRP federal grant provided to the Delaware Health Care Commission.
- Ada Leigh Soles Memorial Professional Librarian and Archivist Incentive Program: Loan forgiveness is provided at a rate of two years of qualifying employment per one year of loan, with priority to current employees of a Delaware public library, state agency library, county department library, public school library, or archive within the state. The program is offered to students in an ALA-accredited master’s degree program in information science or library. Students must meet and maintain set academic standards, and community services as well as financial need are also considered. This loan is renewable for three additional years and may be used to pay tuition, educational expenses, and mandatory fees.
- Speech-Language Pathologist Incentive Program: Delaware resident full-time graduate students seeking licensure as a speech-language pathologist, or those employed as an eligible contracted provider under the Birth to 3 Early Intervention System or a Delaware public school may apply for this loan, which cannot exceed the costs of all direct educational expenses, mandatory fees and tuition. It is renewable for one additional year. Financial need, academic record, and community service are considered, and applicants must first complete the FAFSA. Loans are forgiven at a rate of two years of employment as a Birth to 3 Early Intervention contracted provider or employment in the Delaware public school system as a licensed speech-language pathologist per one year of funded loan.
- Optometry Incentive Program: This loan is offered to Delaware residents who are full-time graduate students seeking licensure as an optometrist within the state. Loans may pay for school fees, tuition, and educational expenses for up to three years, and they are forgiven at a rate of one year per employment as an optometrist in Delaware per one year of loan funded.
To apply for most of these programs, students should complete the application through the DOEE Student Access Account and submit an essay. High school seniors will need their school to provide their high school transcript and High School Academic Record Report and Transcript Request while those with 12 or more college credits will need their school to submit their College Grade Release Form by the appropriate deadlines. Some programs offer prorated loans for part-time students as well.