Payment Plans and Loan Options

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an estimate of your capacity over time to absorb some of the cost of your education. It does not necessarily predict how much cash your family has on hand.

To obtain additional resources beyond scholarships and need-based grants and loans, most families use a combination of interest-free monthly payments, federal Direct PLUS Loans and/or private loans.

Interest-Free Monthly Payment Option

The best way to limit debt is to consider the interest-free monthly payment option that is offered to Clark families through Tuition Management Systems (TMS), a Rhode Island company that works with colleges and universities nationwide.

For more information, call TMS at 888-216-4258 or visit the TMS website.

Loan Options

The types of loans you can pursue include:

  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Private loans reviewed annually by Clark University, including:
    • MEFA Undergraduate Loans
    • Citizens Bank Student Loans
    • Smart Option Student Loans
  • Private loans that you and your family locate; Clark will accept any private loan you find.

If you choose to pursue education loans, then we suggest:

  • First considering federal Direct PLUS Loans, which usually offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than most private loans.
  • Checking out our loan comparison chart for a quick overview of loan terms for both federal and private loan programs.
  • Using the Borrow Smart tool, which offers a combination of resources to limit your debt while keeping your monthly payments affordable.
  • Applying for private loans only after you have exhausted all other possible financing options.

Federal Direct Plus Loans

The U.S. Department of Education can loan money to parents of undergraduate students through Direct PLUS Loans, also known as William D. Ford Direct PLUS Loans. These loans usually offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than most private loans.

  • Lender is the U.S. Department of Education, so your parent does not need to select a specific lender.
  • Fixed low-interest rate; the interest rate for 2015-2016 is 6.84 percent, fixed for any loans disbursed from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. A new interest rate is set each academic year, with the interest rate capped at 10.5 percent.
  • 4.292 percent origination fee, resulting in a net disbursement of 4.292 percent less than the actual amount borrowed.
  • Requests are processed during the summer for the upcoming academic year.
  • In 2014-2015, 262 Direct PLUS Loans were approved for Clark University undergraduates; the average loan was $8,970.
  • Your parent must pass a PLUS Loan credit check and must not have an adverse credit history. If your parent is unable to meet the credit criteria, he or she may appeal the decision or may be able to borrow with a credit-worthy endorser.

To apply:

To learn more:

View or print the federal Direct PLUS Loan fact sheet.

Private loans

Private loans can help you and your family pay for educational costs not covered by financial aid. You may explore the private loans that are reviewed annually by Clark University, or you may find private loans on your own.

However, with all private loans, keep in mind that:

  • The borrower should be someone credit-worthy. That could be you, your parent and/or another family member.
  • Interest rates and fees vary from program to program, often based on the borrower's credit history.
  • Interest rates are not always fixed.
  • The maximum loan amount that can be borrowed each year is up to the total cost of your attendance minus your financial aid award.

Private loan programs reviewed annually by Clark University

Each year, Clark University reviews several alternative loan providers and their products, including:

Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) Undergraduate Loan

  • Offered through the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), a nonprofit, self-financing state authority
  • No-fee private loan program offering a fixed interest rate, which varies based on the repayment option you select.
  • You must be a Massachusetts resident or attend college in Massachusetts.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • To obtain a loan, you and/or your family member must be credit-worthy.
  • You may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid you receive.
  • At Clark, the average loan borrowed for 2014-2015 was $13,725.
  • For more information, visit the MEFA website or call 800-449-MEFA (6332).

Citizens Bank Student Loan

  • School-certified, no-fee private loan option for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Clark University has 10 years of experience with this loan product.
  • Select either an immediate, interest-only or deferred-payment option.
  • Borrow up to the cost of your education minus your financial award.
  • For 2014-2015, Clark University borrowers had a 58 percent approval rating, with an average loan of $12,850.
  • For more information, visit the Citizens Bank Student Loan website or call 1-800-708-6684.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan

  • No-fee private loan program funded by Sallie Mae.
  • Clark University has 20 years of experience with this loan product.
  • You can borrow up to the full cost of your education, minus your financial aid award.
  • Offers a deferred-repayment option, interest-only option and immediate-repayment option, with a fixed or variable interest rate.
  • In 2014-2015, 66 Clark students used this program; the average amount borrowed was $13,600.
  • For more information, visit the Sallie Mae Smart Option website or call 1-877-279-7172.

Additional private loan programs

You and your family are encouraged to research loans to find a product that best meets your needs.

The university will process a loan from any lender or agency.