Types of Aid: Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Social Work Grants

Approximately 84% of GSSWR students receive institutional tuition grants.  Eligibility for grant assistance is based on academic promise per the information presented in the application for admission. Financial need may also be taken into account. Usually students are funded at the same percentage level of tuition for each year of study.  You must reapply for the Social Work Grant and loan assistance each academic year.

Outside Assistance

Students must report outside assistance to Student Financial Services. This includes employer tuition benefits. These resources must be included when eligibility for financial aid is being determined and evaluated.

Federal Direct Loan Program

Bryn Mawr College participates in the Direct Loan Program. This means when you borrow a federal loan while attending Bryn Mawr, you are borrowing directly from the Department of Education (DOE). Loans made through this program include the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford, Direct PLUS and Direct Consolidation Loans.

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program

Under the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program, you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If you allow the interest to accrue while you are in school or during other periods of nonpayment, it will be capitalized, that is, the interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan, and additional interest will be based on that higher amount. The interest rate is 5.41% for graduate students.


The Budget Control Act of 2011 discontinued graduate student participation in the Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan Program effective July 1, 2012. For periods of enrollment (loan periods) beginning on or after July 1, 2012, graduate students are no longer eligible to receive Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans.

Graduate Direct PLUS Loan

Students interested in the graduate Direct PLUS Loan must complete a FAFSA which is used to determine eligibility for all federal loans. The maximum amount a student may borrow is the cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance for the loan period. At Bryn Mawr, you inform Student Financial Services of the amount you wish to borrow by completing the Graduate Direct PLUS Loan Action Sheet. A graduate or professional PLUS borrower must not  have an adverse credit history, therefore, a credit check will be performed. The interest rate for the Direct PLUS Loan is 6.41%

Other Fees:

Students who borrow Direct Unsubsidized Loans, will be charged an origination fee of 1.05%. Direct PLUS borrowers pay a 4.204% origination fee.

Interest Rebates:

An interest rebate is a repayment incentive offered to Direct Loan borrowers by the DOE. This rebate lowers the interest rate and is given up front as an incentive to establish a good repayment relationship with the DOE. To keep the interest rebate, the first twelve required monthly payments must be made on time. If all twelve payments are not made on time, the rebate amount will be added back to the loan account.

NOTE: The up-front interest rebate has been discontinued for loans with a first disbursement date on or after July 1, 2012. The Budget Control Act of 2011 terminated the Department of Education’s authority to offer repayment incentives to Direct Loan borrowers with one exception. The law continues to authorize the Department to offer interest rate reductions to borrowers who agree to have payments automatically debited from a bank account. A rebate of 0.5% may be applied for Direct Stafford loans, and 1.5% for Direct PLUS loans.

Borrowing Limits:

The Direct Loan amount on your initial award letter lists your maximum unsubsidized eligibility. You must notify Student Financial Services via virtual.brynmawr.edu Self-Service if you wish to accept, decline, or reduce your loan.

Graduate Annual Loan Limits and Terms: Depending on the cost of attendance, graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 annually in an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.Two terms represent an annual loan period. The Direct PLUS Loan annual limit is determined by student cost of attendance minus other aid received.

Borrower-Based Loans:

Borrower-Based Loans (BB) are awarded to eligible students who start the academic year in the Summer. Two terms represent an annual loan period, therefore, a BB loan includes the Summer and Fall terms as one loan period, with the Spring term starting a new loan period. Loans borrowed in the Spring BB loan

period are included in the following Summer term when loan eligibility is being determined.

Aggregate Limit:

The aggregate limit for graduate students is $138,500. No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Master Promissory Notes:

All Direct Loan first-time borrowers must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN is a multi-year promissory note good for ten years from the date your first loan is disbursed. Borrowers may complete an electronic MPN (e MPN) at www.studentloans.gov. The e MPN speeds up the processing of your loan.

Loan Counseling:

All first-time Direct Loan borrowers at Bryn Mawr must complete loan entrance counseling to review your rights and responsibilities as a Direct Stafford Loan borrower or as a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrower before funds can be disbursed. Borrowers must also complete exit counseling prior to graduation or dropping below half-time enrollment. You may satisfy these obligations on line by logging onto www.studentloans.gov.

Loan Disbursement:

Your Direct Loan funds will be electronically transmitted to Bryn Mawr each semester. Student Financial Services will notify you when the funds have been credited to your account. If you borrow for a loan period that covers two terms, one-half of your loan proceeds will be credited to your student account in the first term and the remaining half in the second term. If you borrow for one semester, your loan funds may be credited in two separate installments during the term for which you borrowed. However, most one semester loans will be credited in a single installment. NOTE that loan fees will be subtracted from your loan. This means that the amount received at the College will be different than what you see on your award notification. The net amount of your loan is what is credited to your student account.


Refund Checks:

If all of your paperwork has been processed in a timely manner, your Direct Loan funds will be sent to Bryn Mawr about a week before the start of the school term. Funds in excess of your bill will not be released until after the first day of classes, and you are “officially enrolled.” Refund checks are run weekly and mailed on Mondays. During the summer, checks are mailed to your permanent address. Direct deposit is available and the form can be downloaded from: www.brynmawr.edu/controller/DirectDepositformupdated42010.pdf.

Contact Student Financial Services if you have any additional

questions about refund checks.


Direct Stafford Loan repayment begins 6 months after you cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis. The repayment term ranges from 10 to 25 years depending on the repayment plan you choose. The minimum monthly payment is $50. If you borrow a small amount, you will have shorter repayment terms. If you borrow a large amount, your repayment term will be longer. When you are entering repayment, you should review your options at www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov.

Repayment for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan begins on the date the loan is fully disbursed. The first payment is due within 60 days after the date the loan is fully disbursed. A Graduate PLUS Loan borrower who drops below half-time enrollment is not entitled to a grace period and goes into repayment immediately. Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers may receive a deferment while enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution. Verification of enrollment is performed by the College’s Registrar’s Office and is sent to your lender automatically each term.

General Loan Repayment

Comprehensive repayment plans and schedules, along with an interactive calculator, are available at www.studentaid.ed.gov. The federal government provides various ways for you to pay back federal loans based on income rather than amount borrowed. Student Financial Services recommends you work with your loan servicer when choosing a repayment plan.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs were created to encourage students to enter and continue work, full-time, in public service jobs. Remaining balances on federal Direct Program Loans are forgiven after 120 qualifying monthly payments are made, beginning after October 2007. Full-time employment by a public service organization is required at the time of repayment. Detailed information, along with questions and answers about the program, is available at www.studentaid.ed.gov.

Federal Perkins Loans

When funds are available, the College awards Federal Perkins Loans from federal funds allocated to Bryn Mawr. Awards range from $500 to $6,000 per year and are based on financial eligibility. The first year you receive a Perkins Loan, you must complete a Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note. The promissory note and a Perkins Loan Questionnaire must be completed before the Perkins will be credited to your account. You must complete entrance counseling upon acceptance of the loan and exit counseling before graduation or once enrollment becomes less than half-time. The interest rate is 5% and interest does not accrue until repayment begins. Loan repayment is deferred if you attend at least half-time. Repayment begins nine months after graduation, withdrawal from the College or dropping below half-time status. Repayment for students attending less than half-time is based on prior outstanding Perkins Loans. If you have an outstanding Perkins, you must begin repayment of the new loan when the next scheduled installment is due on the outstanding Perkins Loan. If no prior loan exists, repayment begins nine months from the date the loan is made or nine months from the date you cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis, whichever is earlier. The Perkins program offers a variety of forbearance and deferment options. The program also offers various discharge/cancellation provisions for certain types of services performed after graduation (e.g. teaching, public service, Peace Corp, AmeriCorps, or the military). More information about these benefits can be found at www.studentaid.ed.gov.


Under certain conditions, federal regulations allow you to defer loan repayment. The most common deferments are for enrollment on at least a half-time basis, unemployment and economic hardship. Active and Post-Active military deferments are also available. Complete information about loan deferments will be provided during the entrance and exit counseling process. Additional information can be found online at www.studentaid.ed.gov.


The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student financial aid records. The secure NSLDS web site, www.nslds.ed.gov, allows you to track and manage your federal student loans from when they are approved until you pay them off. Using your federal PIN (the one you use when completing your FAFSA), you can access this web site 24 hours a day. Please note that loan information at NSLDS is accessible to authorized users at schools and to lender and guaranty agencies.