Loan Programs

  • Use the links below to learn more about the types of loans that are available to help finance your Darden MBA. Federal loans are available for U.S. Citizens and eligible non-Citizens. International students should use the Options for International Students link.


  • Federal Loans

    Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

    • Fixed interest rate of 6.21% (through 6/30/2015)
    • Origination fee of 1.072% on loans with a first disbursement between 10/1/13 and 09/30/14; and 1.073% on loans with a first disbursement between 10/1/2014 and 9/30/15
    • No credit criteria: the maximum amount of this loan is available regardless of credit score or credit history
    • Interest will begin to accrue from the date of disbursement
    • Standard repayment term of 10 years; alternative repayment plans are available
    • Repayment begins 6 months after no longer being enrolled at least half time in a degree seeking program

    Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

    While the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan provides up to $20,500 per year, any additional funds needed to cover tuition and living expenses may be borrowed as a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan.

    • Fixed interest rate of 7.21% (through 6/30/2015)
    • Origination fee of 4.288% on loans with a first disbursement between 10/1/13 and 09/30/14; and 4.292% on loans with a first disbursement between 10/1/14 and 9/30/15
    • Loan approval is based on credit; potential borrowers must not have an adverse credit history. For any credit check completed on or after 29 March 2015, credit history is considered adverse if — as of the date of the credit report — the applicant has a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a Title IV debt during the preceding five years, or if the applicant has one or more debts with a combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 and those debts are 90 or more days delinquent — or charged off/in collection — within the preceding two years.
    • If a PLUS loan is denied, you may obtain an endorser or appeal the decision. Also beginning on 29 March, 2015, borrowers who obtain a PLUS loan by obtaining an endorser or being granted an appeal will have to complete separate PLUS Loan Counseling. See for additional information. 
    • Interest will begin to accrue from the date of disbursement
    • Standard repayment term of 10 years; alternative repayment plans are available
    • Repayment begins 6 months after no longer being enrolled at least half time in a degree seeking program

    Private (Third-Party) Loans

    Although students may finance the full cost of attendance using federal student loans, students may research alternative student loan options through private lenders. The University of Virginia Darden School of Business neither encourages nor discourages students from researching and applying for private student loans. While Federal loans typically offer safety nets not found with private loans, we encourage students to carefully research and consider all available loan options.

    Researching Private Loan Options

    Things to Consider

    • While fixed interest rate private loans are available, private student loans are typically floating interest rate loans based on the Prime Rate or LIBOR
    • Interest rates and fees are determined by individual lenders based on the borrower's credit score and credit history
    • Repayment terms vary by lender and can range from 10 to 25 years
    • The ability to pre-pay without penalty is determined by individual lenders
    • Private loans typically cannot be consolidated with one-another, and cannot be consolidated with Federal loans
    • Compare the differences between Federal and private student loans on the Federal Student Aid website

    Questions to Ask Yourself

    How important is it to have the lowest interest rate interest possible?

    Depending on your credit score, credit history, and whether or not you have a co-signer, private loan interest rates and fees may be comparatively better than Federal loans

    Will I ever need an alternative repayment option?

    For borrowers who may find themselves financially over- burdened by their monthly loan payments, Federal loans offer safety nets not found with private loans, such as multiple alternative repayment options, and typically more generous deferment and forbearance terms

    How quickly do I expect to repay my loans after I graduate?

    Not all private loans allow for penalty-free pre-payment; additionally, for borrowers of floating interest rate private loans, the potential for interest rates to rise over time means borrowers who take longer to repay their loans also take on greater risk that payments will increase over the lifetimes of their loans

    Questions to Ask Lenders

    • Is the interest rate fixed or variable? If it is fixed, what is the maximum rate? If it is variable, how often will it change and how high could it go?
    • Are there any application, origination, disbursement or repayment fees?
    • Is a co-signer required? Will having a co-signer lower the interest rate, and can my cosigner be released during repayment?
    • Is there a grace period between graduation and when repayment begins?
    • When is accrued interest capitalized (added to principal balance)?
    • How long is the repayment period, and are there pre-payment penalties for paying a loan off earlier than the standard term?
    • Are payments deferred while I am still in school?
    • Is there an in-school deferment option if I graduate and choose to enroll in another graduate degree program in the future?
    • What type of hardship deferment or forbearance options are there?
    • Are there any borrower benefits, such as an interest rate reduction for signing up for auto-debit or by making a certain number of on-time payments?

    Options for International Students

    The Darden School of Business and the Darden School Foundation are pleased to announce the signing of a multiyear MBA Loan Program agreement with Discover Bank. Beginning with the Class of 2014, Discover is offering Darden's incoming qualified international and domestic students loans for their qualified educational expenses, subject to the program's criteria.

    • Maximum borrowing limit of $70,000 per year
    • Rates on the Discover Custom Graduate Loan
    • Zero fees
    • No co-signer required
    • Standard repayment term of 20 years
    • Repayment begins 9 months after graduation or when enrollment drops below half-time
    • Cash rewards for good grades
    • Details about the Discover Custom Graduate Loan will be sent directly to qualified students who are offered admission and have accepted and paid the required admission deposit

    To learn how to apply for this loan, visit our Applying for Financial Aid page

      Prospective students may find student loans with more favorable terms than the Discover Custom Graduate Loan. Domestic students are encouraged to consider other private and federal student loans, while international students may find alternative student private loan options with a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident as a co-signer.