What is an Interest Rate?

The RISLA Student Loan and RISLA Parent Loan are fixed rate loans. An Interest Rate is the percentage of the total amount borrowed (principal) that is charged by a lender for being provided that principal at origination.  The interest rate can vary based on the repayment option chosen. View program interest rates.

When does interest start to accrue, does interest accrue from the time my application is approved? 

No, interest does not begin accruing until the funds are disbursed to the school which is typically twice a year to align with semester billing.

What is “capitalized interest”?

Although interest begins to accrue whenever funds are disbursed, for a deferred loan, payments are not required until 6 months after the student leaves school.  Once the repayment period begins, any unpaid interest accrued during school is added to the unpaid principal balance (capitalized) and is then considered part of the unpaid principal.

Does interest accrue while the student is in school for an immediate repayment loan or a deferred loan?

Yes. For all loans, interest accrues after the funds are disbursed.  For Immediate Repayment loans, repayment for principal and interest begins the following month.  For deferred loans, repayment begins 6 months after the student leaves school.

Can interest be paid while the student is in school?

If you choose an immediate repayment option, you will be required to make scheduled monthly payments, regardless of whether or not you are still in school. For deferred loan, a statement of accruing interest will be mailed to borrowers and cosigners. Either the borrower and/or cosigner may choose to pay any amount during this time. Paying any amount while in school will decrease your total cost of borrowing.

What criteria are used to determine eligibility for the loan?

All RISLA Loans are credit-based loans. You must also meet some additional requirements such as income, debt-to-income, and liquidity. 

How much should I borrow?  Are there any loan limits?

RISLA strives to emphasize the importance of fiscal responsibility during both the planning for and paying for higher education.  For that reason, we published a guide to help determine what is the right amount to borrow. To stay in line with that idea of fiscal responsibility, RISLA has a $45,000 maximum loan amount per year limit (and a minimum of $1,500). There is also an aggregate limit per borrower of $150,000 ($175,000 per family). This limit includes any RISLA loan originated in your name.

What paperwork does RISLA require from the school?

The school is not required to submit any paperwork for you to apply. Once approved for a loan, students will also need to accept the loan and complete the self-certification form. Schools will need to certify your loan. RISLA will send the necessary information to the school to get school certification. 

How does the school certify the loan?

RISLA sends requests for certification directly to the school. 

When does repayment begin?

The repayment start date entirely depends upon which loan you choose.
For undergraduates with deferred repayment, repayment begins six (6) months after the student leaves school, not to exceed 78 months (72 months in school and 6 months grace) . Undergraduate students must be enrolled for at least 1 credit to qualify for deferment.
  • For undergraduates with immediate repayment, repayment begins 15 days after the final disbursement. In school deferment is not available on the immediate repayment loan.
  • For graduate students with deferred repayment, repayment begins six (6) months after the student leaves school, not to exceed 42 months (36 months in school and 6 months grace).   Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time in order to qualify for deferment. 

What is the term of the loan?

  • Deferred repayment: 180 months (15 years)
  • Immediate repayment: 120 months (10 years)

What is the minimum payment amount?

Your minimum monthly payment is calculated based on the amount of principal borrowed, the interest rate, and the term of the loan.  There are no fees included in calculating the minimum payment amount.  If the calculation to pay the full amount of principal and interest over the full term of the loan is below $50.00, then $50.00 is the minimum payment amount and the term will be reduced accordingly. 

Are there any incentives for RISLA loans?

  • You can receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction for making monthly payments using auto-debit (also known as Automated Clearing House or ACH).  This payment option can be established through the online payment system or by providing RISLA with a completed Automatic Payment Agreement Authorization Form.
  • RISLA offers a loan forgiveness for Internships.  This reward program provides eligible borrowers with a $2,000 reduction in principal balance for completing an internship.  See Rewards for College Interns for more details.
  • RISLA has a Nursing Rewards program, from which qualified RI nurses have interest rates reduced to 0.0% for 48 months!

What options are available for deferment/forbearance?

If you choose the deferred repayment option, the loan is deferred while the student is in school, with a six-month grace period after leaving school (not to exceed 78 months total for undergraduates and 42 months total for graduate students).

Once in repayment, for immediate or deferred payment loans, a forbearance is available to you, typically for unforeseen circumstances such as unemployment, disability, and/or other financial hardships. The maximum amount of forbearance over the life of the loan is 12 months.

Does RISLA have an Income-Based Repayment plan?

Yes!  RISLA’s Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan is available for borrowers experiencing a financial hardship.  To qualify, both the borrower and cosigner must provide financial information (i.e. tax forms, financial statements, and/or pay stubs) to confirm eligibility on an annual basis. Interested borrowers are strongly encouraged to find out if current income and family size qualifications are met using the IBR payment calculator before applying.