Financing your optometry education can be complicated. NECO connects you to a full range of loan options and resources to help you make informed decisions and support throughout the process.
Stafford loans are federal loans administered through the U.S. Department of Education.
Health professions graduate students can borrow the Unsubsidized Stafford loan for up to $40,500 per year for a nine-month academic year, $44,944 for the second and third years 11-month academic period and $47,167 for a 12-month academic year, which applies to fourth-year students and all AODP and ASIP students.
- Total graduate and undergraduate borrowing cannot exceed $224,000.
- The interest rate is 5.284% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021, and before July 1, 2022. Interest accrues while enrolled.
- The origination fee, as of October 1, 2021, is 1.057%.
- Interest starts accruing for these unsubsidized loans as soon as the loan is funded.
Based on parent/guardian FAFSA information, you may be eligible for:
- A Health Professions Student Loan, which average $5,000 per year at NECO.
- A Loan for Disadvantaged Students, which average $3,000 per year at NECO.
- A Fund for Education Loan (first-year students only), which average $3,000-$5,000 at NECO.
- All of these loans are interest-free until repayment begins and subject to 5% interest thereafter.
Federal Direct Grad PLUS loans
The federal graduate PLUS loan is designed to close the gap between other aid and the cost of attendance.
- The interest rate is 6.284 % for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2022. Interest accrues while enrolled.
- The origination fee, as of October 1, 2021, is 4.228%.
NECO emergency loans
Because we believe that unexpected expenses should not derail a promising optometry career, NECO provides interest-free emergency loans of up to $1,000 that can be made available in a matter of days. Recipients of this interest-free cash advance will either have it deducted from a future refund or added to their existing balance.
Managing and repaying your loans
Keep track of your borrowing and estimated repayment. The Federal Student Aid website is a great resource for comparing student loan repayment programs and to view your borrowing history.
Before you contact your loan servicer to discuss repayment plans, you can use the loan simulator to compare student loan repayment plans that meet your needs and goals, for projecting monthly payments with different repayment options, or to decide whether to consolidate. The helpful federal Loan Simulator combines information about your federal loans with interactive debt management and a budget planner.
Another helpful tool is the Aidan® Virtual Assistant, which is an owl icon in the bottom right corner of any page on the Federal Student Aid website. Aidan can answer common questions about federal student aid and guide customers to the correct information and resources. Aidan can assist with finding pages quickly on the website, retrieving loan balance on your account, making a payment on the spot, understanding loan repayment, finding your loan servicer and finding customer support information.