Tuition & Financial Aid

MBA - Financial Aid & Loans

Financial Aid & Loans

Darden is committed to helping our students find solutions to meeting the financial requirements necessary to obtain an MBA. Students may finance their education through scholarships, education loans or a combination of both. Admitted students are automatically considered for merit based scholarships on the basis of their Application of Admission. 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 tab.

  • How to Apply

    U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens of the United States may apply for Federal Loans, Private Loans or a combination of both. Students who will need a visa to attend Darden will find information by selecting the Options for International Students link. 

    If you will be using Veterans Benefits, please visit our Military Benefits page to learn more about VA Benefits at the Darden School.

  • Federal Loans

    Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan 

    • Maximum amount of the Cost of Attendance minus any other aid up to $20,500 per year
    • Fixed interest rate of 6.08% for loans disbursed on or after 1 July 2019
    • Origination fee of 1.059% for loans disbursed on or after 1 October 2019
    • 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
    • To learn how to apply for a Federal Direct Loan, please review the steps below. 
    • Additional information about the Federal Direct Loan can be found on the Department of Education's website

    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 7.08% for loans disbursed on or after 1 July 2019
    • Origination fee of 4.236% for loans disbursed on or after 1 October 2019
    • 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 credit has been frozen, it will need to be unfrozen with all three credit agencies. If credit has been frozen after 1 June 2020, the following steps will need to be completed.
      • Unfreeze your credit with all three credit agencies (The Department of Education randomly selects one of the three credit bureaus).
      • Go to the Department of Education’s website and request the credit approval by clicking on the ‘Direct PLUS Loan Application for Graduate/Professional Students’.
    • 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 studentloans.gov 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
    • To learn how to apply for a Federal Direct Loan, please review the steps below. 
    • Additional information about the Federal Direct Loan can be found on the Department of Education's website.

    How to Apply 

    STEP ONE: FILE THE FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA)

    • The FAFSA is your application for both the Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS Loans. 
    • Go to https://fafsa.ed.gov/ to file a 2020-2021 FAFSA.
    • If you are filing the FAFSA for the first time after 10 May 2015, you will need to create an FSA ID to access and use certain Department of Education websites; including the electronic signing of the FAFSA.
    • If you have previously applied for Federal Financial Aid before 10 May 2015 using a Financial Aid PIN, you will be required to create a new FSA ID. The FSA ID replaces your PIN.
    • On the "School Selection" tab of the FAFSA, select the University of Virginia (school code: 003745); the Darden School is not listed separately.
    • Students who obtain a PLUS loan after initially being denied for credit reasons will be required to complete additional credit counseling.
    • For additional information about the FAFSA, please refer to the Department of Education's Guide to Completing the FAFSA.

    STEP TWO: SUBMIT A UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION

    • If you have accepted an offer of admission to the Darden School, you must complete a University of Virginia Financial Aid Application (UFAA) via the UVA Student Information System (SIS).
    • Instructions about how to access the SIS and complete the financial aid application process can be found in the Darden Admitted Student Portal.

    STEP THREE: COMPLETE FEDERAL LOAN MASTER PROMISSORY NOTES AND ENTRANCE COUNSELING

    • Go to https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action to sign Master Promissory Notes (MPNs) and take the required Entrance Counseling.
    • Make sure to complete a separate MPN for each type of Federal loan you intend to borrow (i.e. Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans).
    • Approval to borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan requires that you do not have adverse credit history. If you are unsure if you will qualify, we recommend that you complete a Graduate PLUS Loan Request for a credit decision no more than 90 days prior to the first bill due-date of the fall semester, and resolve any findings on your credit history as quickly as possible.
    • Students who obtain a PLUS loan after initially being denied for credit reasons will be required to complete additional credit counseling.
  • 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

    • Consider contacting lenders or other financial institutions with which you already have a working relationship
    • Check your credit report and resolve any issues you may find quickly: you can get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus each year at www.annualcreditreport.com
    • Resources to help search for private loans: 
      finaid.org
      simpletuition

    THINGS TO CONSIDER

    • While fixed interest rate private loans are available, private student loans are typically variable 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 7 to 25 years
    • The ability to pre-pay without penalty is determined by individual lenders
    • 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 variable 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 cosigner required? Will having a cosigner 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?

    How to Apply 

    STEP ONE: SUBMIT A UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION

    If you have accepted an offer of admission to the Darden School, you must complete a University of Virginia Financial Aid Application (UFAA) via the UVA Student Information System (SIS).

    Instructions about how to access the SIS and complete the financial aid application process can be found in the Darden Admitted Student Portal

    STEP TWO: APPLY FOR A PRIVATE LOAN

    • You must apply for private loans directly with the lender of your choice.
    • Private student loans will require an application and credit approval, completion of a promissory note, completion of a self-certification form and possibly other requirements specific to your chosen loan and/or lender. Check with your lender to make sure you are aware of and understand all requirements.

    STEP THREE: INFORM THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA OF YOUR BORROWING CHOICE

    • If you have also applied for federal loans, the University cannot certify your private loan until you have made accept/decline decisions on your financial aid package for any federal loans offered.
    • If you are only applying for private loans, you do not need to file a FAFSA, however you will still need to submit a UFAA.
  • Options for International Students

    DISCOVER CUSTOM GRADUATE LOAN

    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 $98,000 per year beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year 
    • Zero fees
    • No cosigner required
    • Standard repayment term of 20 years
    • Repayment begins 9 months after graduation or when enrollment drops below half-time 
    • Details about the Discover Custom Graduate Loan, including rates and rewards for good grades, will be sent directly to qualified students who are offered admission and have accepted and paid the required admission deposit

    PRODIGY FINANCE LOAN

    Prodigy Finance offers no-cosigner loan to Darden students.

    • No cosigner required
    • No early repayment fees
    • Repayment of up to 10 years
    • Repayment begins 6-months after graduation for full-time MBAs
    • Up to 80% of Cost of Attendance (including tuition and living expenses)
    • Join the world’s largest community of international borrowers
    • Details about the Prodigy Finance Loan for Darden MBAs are on the Prodigy Finance - Darden MBA 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 cosigner. Resources for other private student loan options include:

    How to Apply 

    STEP ONE: SUBMIT A UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION

    If you have accepted an offer of admission to the Darden School, you must complete a University of Virginia Financial Aid Application (UFAA) via the UVA Student Information System (SIS).

    Instructions about how to access the SIS and complete the financial aid application process can be found in the Darden Admitted Student Portal

    STEP TWO: DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET

    • Review Darden's funding requirements on the I-20 Request Form.
    • International students are required to budget an additional $7,000 for a spouse and $4,000 for each additional dependent. (Per University of Virginia policy, family members cannot be included in the budget when applying for a loan.)

    STEP THREE: COMPLETE THE LOAN APPLICATION (ENROLLING STUDENTS).

    International and domestic students may apply/reapply online for the Discover Custom Graduate Loan. A link to the  2018-2019 application will be provided when it is available.  Applicants must meet credit criteria to qualify. Applicants must apply to any other lender of their choice if they do not borrow the Discover Custom Graduate Loan. Questions about the application and/or application status should be directed to Discover at +1 800-973-5145. For other private loans, students must apply directly with the lender of choice, and notify the Darden Financial Office.

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

    In order for you to remain eligible for Federal financial aid programs, you must make satisfactory academic progress. In other words, you must make good enough grades, and complete enough classes (credits, hours, etc.), to keep moving toward successfully completing your degree in an acceptable time period. If you do not maintain satisfactory academic progress, you will be in jeopardy of losing eligibility for Federal financial aid.

    The satisfactory academic progress standards apply to all Federal financial aid programs including Federal Direct loans (Unsubsidized and graduate PLUS), Darden scholarships, outside scholarships and Veterans benefits. Private loans may have different eligibility requirements. Please refer to the eligibility requirements for these programs to determine the standards to remain eligible for non-Federal financial aid programs.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

    For purposes of determining student eligibility assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, an institution must establish reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is maintaining satisfactory academic progress. On October 29, 2010, the Secretary of Education published final rules aimed at improving the integrity of programs authorized under Title IV of the HEA, as amended. Effective July 1, 2011, institutions must comply with the published regulations that impact Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

    It is important to note that the standards of the Darden Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for financial aid purposes may differ from the academic progress policies of Darden Graduate School of Business. The Darden Financial Aid Office encourages all students, academic deans and academic advisors to become familiar with the satisfactory academic progress policy and its impact on student financial aid eligibility. Click here to review the Darden SAP policy.

    Evaluating students’ satisfactory academic progress is required by federal regulation. The outcome of the evaluation and its impact on students’ financial aid eligibility overrides all other University polices or statements regarding a student’s academic standing.

    Appeal Process

    The U.S. Department of Education does not believe it is appropriate for students who are not making progress towards program completion to continue to receive Title IV, HEA aid. Students who experience circumstances that interfere with their ability to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards may appeal their SAP status. The intent of the appeal process is to provide information to the Darden Financial Aid Appeals Committee that is not captured on the student’s academic record but has impacted the student’s academic progress.

    Students who appeal their SAP status must provide a detailed explanation for why they are not making satisfactory academic progress and must also present convincing evidence of their ability to meet the SAP standards and to finish their degree program. The satisfactory academic progress policy does not limit the number of times students may appeal an SAP status during a student's career; however, it is the Darden Financial Aid Appeals Committee’s objective to ensure that Title IV, HEA aid is awarded to students who demonstrate a capacity for completing their degree program.

    Students who wish to appeal their Financial Aid Suspension must complete and submit the following:

    1. Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal – made available by the Darden Financial Aid Office
    2. Academic Dean Support form (page 2 of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal)
    3. Academic plan developed by academic dean and student that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time
    4. If applicable, documentation from a third party to support your explanation (i.e. letter from physician or counselor)

    Once the completed appeal is received, the information will be reviewed by the Darden Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Based upon the documentation submitted, the Committee will approve or deny the appeal. Students will be notified of the Committee’s decision by email no later than one month after the completed appeal is received.