Loans are money that you or your parents borrow and repay with interest. Education loans are offered at low interest rates and have long repayment terms. Some loans require a demonstration of need, others do not.

There are several types of loans available to help a student fund their education:

Federal Direct Student Loans

The Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are low-interest loans designed to provide students with funds for their college education.

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Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, is a low-interest loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students.

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Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is designed to provide graduate and professional students with additional funds for their education.

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You can find current interest rates and fees associated with Federal loan programs on the Federal Student Aid website.

Private Loans

Private loans, also known as alternative loans, can help cover your educational costs after all other federal, state, and institutional options have been exhausted.

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Emergency Loans

This loan is to be used for unplanned educationally related expenses only.

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National Student Loan Data System

When Mason processes any federal loan for either a student or parent, information about that loan is transmitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and is accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.

Mason Loan Counseling

Before offering, recommending, arranging, signing-up, dispersing, or enrolling students for private student loans, Mason will provide Service members access to an institutional financial aid advisor who will make available appropriate loan counseling, including, but not limited to:

  • Providing a clear and complete explanation of available financial aid, including Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended;
  • Describing the differences between private and federal student loans to include terms, conditions, repayment and forgiveness options;
  • Disclosing Mason's student loan Cohort Default Rate (CDR), the percentage of its students who borrow, and how its CDR compares to the national average. If Mason’s CDR is greater than the national average CDR, Mason will disclose that information and provide the student with loan repayment data; and
  • Explaining that students have the ability to refuse all or borrow less than the maximum student loan amount allowed.

George Mason University- Cohort Default Rate

George Mason University’s Cohort Default Rate (CDR) for 2020 was 0%, in comparison to the national rate of 0%. 

Federal Cohort Fiscal Year

(year borrowers entered repayment)





George Mason University

Three-year Loan Default Rate






Three-year Loan Default Rate





Public 4-year

Three-year Loan Default Rate





*FY 2020 cohort default rates were significantly impacted by the pause on federal student loan payments that began March 13, 2020. During the pause, borrowers with ED-held student loans were not required to make any payments, and no borrowers with ED-held loans entered default.

Exit Loan Counseling

U.S. Department of Education Exit Loan Counseling Guide