FAQs - American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are managed by the U. S. Department of Education and are available at ACAOM in three different types – Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and Direct PLUS Loan.  However, The Budget Control Act of 2011 made significant changes to the federal student loan program. Congress voted to eliminate the federal student loan subsidies for graduate students effective July 1, 2012. This means that beginning in Fall Semester, 2012/2013, graduate and professional students will not be eligible for receiving a subsidized loan, and will only be eligible for Direct Unsubsidized.  Direct PLUS loan are also available for those without adverse credit history.

The Direct Unsubsidized loan carries 1% loan fee and 5.84% interest.  The interest may be capitalized (added to your principal loan balance, thus increasing the amount you’ll repay).  The repayment of Direct Unsubsidized Loan starts 6 months after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment.  The Graduate PLUS Loan, carries a 4% loan fee and an interest rate of 6.84%, and is available to those who need to borrow more than the maximum Unsubsidized loan amount to meet education costs that are not covered by other financial aid.  The interest may also be capitalized.  The repayment of PLUS loan starts 2 months after the loan is fully disbursed, and there is no grace period for repaying Graduate PLUS loan.

You must be a U. S. citizen or permanent resident admitted to an accredited program as a degree-seeking student. You must also be enrolling for at least half-time (6 credits) and making satisfactory academic progress both in quality and quantity.

The unsubsidized loan is awarded regardless of financial needs, and you may borrow a loan of up to $10,250 per semester. Please note that ACAOM operates three semesters a year, therefore, the maximum annual amounts you may borrow are three times the above amounts.

On a Graduate PLUS loan, you may borrow up to maximum cost of attendance at 7.9% interest. To qualify for a Graduate PLUS loan, the borrowers must not have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be conducted). If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a PLUS loan if you obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.

For the unsubsidized loans, the regular loan fee is 1% of the gross amount of loan, and for the PLUS loan, the regular loan fee is 4%.

The first step is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov to fill out the form. You will first apply for your PIN number so that you may go back to the website to complete the form.

Be sure to include our Federal School Code “031533” on your application.

Once submitted, you will receive a Financial Aid Offer letter from the College’s Financial Aid Office. You need to specify the amount of loan accepted on the Financial Aid Offer form and return the form to the Financial Aid Office for processing.

Yes, you can request less than the amount that the school offered to you, or decline the loan. The school’s aid offer is based on typical expenses for the student population. If you budget carefully, you may be able to reduce your costs and thus reduce your need for loan assistance.

Your loan money will be paid through your school at the beginning of each semester. If you chose to defer your tuition payment and other fees, your loan money must first be applied to pay for tuition and fees. If loan money remains, you’ll receive the funds by check.

For the first time borrowers, it will take at least one month before the money can be disbursed. To assist in the financial aid applicants’ cash flow problems, ACAOM allows the applicants to defer tuition payment until the financial aid funds are available.

Yes, if you want to pay the interest that accrues on your Direct Unsubsidized Loan or your Direct PLUS Loan while you are in school, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979.

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month “grace period” before you begin repayment. During this period, you’ll receive repayment information from the Department of Education, and you’ll be notified of your first payment due date. You’re responsible for beginning repayment on time. Payments are usually due monthly. There will be no grace period for the PLUS loan.

You’ll repay your Direct Loan to the U.S. Department of Education’s Direct Loan Servicing Center. The Direct Loan program offer several repayment plans you can choose from, but the terms differ slightly. An Income-based Repayment Plan is also available. Your payment under this plan will be based on your income during any period when you have a partial financial hardship. Your monthly payment amount may be adjusted annually. You will receive more detailed information on your repayment options during entrance and exit counseling sessions your school will provide.

Under certain circumstances, you can receive a deferment or forbearance on your loan, as long as it’s not in default. During a deferment, no payments are required. You won’t be charged interest for a subsidized Direct Stafford loan. If you have an unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you are responsible for the interest during deferment.
If you’re temporarily unable to meet your repayment schedule, (for example, due to poor health or other unforeseen personal problems), and you’re not eligible for a deferment, the Direct Loan Servicing Center might grant you forbearance for a limited and specified period.

Yes, but only under a few circumstances. Your loan cannot be canceled because you didn’t complete the program of study at the school (unless you could not complete the program for a valid reason—the school closed, for example), or because you didn’t like the school or the program of study, or you didn’t obtain employment after completing the program of study.

If you have questions regarding other types of financial aid, such as Federal Work-Study program, veteran education benefits, or scholarship information, contact the Financial Aid Office at (713) 780-9777 or email financialaid@acaom.edu

For further questions about Direct Loans, or your loan status, you may also contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 800-848-0979.