Several types of loan funds are available through the college. Those, including the Perkins Loan and the Stafford Loan, are regulated by the federal government. Each program has some unique features: The Perkins Loan is a program of borrowing for students who demonstrate a high degree of need. The student has the obligation to repay the loan, after leaving college, at an interest rate of 5 percent and a minimum payment of $50 monthly. The Stafford Loan program may be need-based or non-need-based. Within a 10-year period following college attendance, the student is obligated to repay the loan with a minimum monthly repayment of $50. As of July 1, 2014, new subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans will have a fixed interest rate of 4.66 percent (interest rates are subject to change).

Students may borrow private or alternative loans to help with their educational expenses, when the amount of their financial aid does not meet their required level of funding.

Several major banks and lending institutions offer private loan programs. The interest rates and applicable fees vary, and we suggest that students and parents carefully read the information provided about the loans before making a decision about which loan program to choose.

Interest on the loans is the responsibility of the family throughout the life of the loan, but may be deferred along with the principal until the student leaves higher education. The Office of Financial Aid Services welcomes your questions about private loans, and will be happy to assist you with the application process.

Short-term loans are available through the Student Accounts Office to meet sudden financial needs confronting students.

Whitman encourages students and their parents to use loan funds wisely. Loans place some responsibility for financing higher education on the student, enabling him or her to receive financial assistance when needed and to pay some of the cost of the education at a time when he or she is better able to do so. Consequently, the college expects to give students reasonable financial help in the form of loans. Students should not exceed the amount they need to meet educational expenses when borrowing. Inquiries are welcome and should be sent to the Office of Financial Aid Services.