Program Descriptions - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Program Descriptions

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Federal Direct Loans

The College-Institute participates in the Direct Loan Program. Within that program our school offers two types of Federal Loans: the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford and the Grad Plus Loan. The HUC-JIR Financial Aid Office are compelled by law to determine federal loan eligibility on the basis of a government-approved evaluation service. The Higher Education Reauthorization Act requires the College-Institute to use the Federal Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine federal loan eligibility.

To be eligible for financial aid a student must first complete the FAFSA on line and submit a signed federal tax return to the Financial Aid Office. The first step in applying for financial aid scholarships and loans is to complete the FAFSA at This serves as an application to both our scholarship and loan programs. The next step is to submit a copy of the student's signed tax return to the Financial Aid Office. This would be the latest tax return filed for the previous year.

Federal Loans

Unsubsidized Stafford
An unsubsidized loan accrues interest while the student is in school. This loan is not based on financial need and is available to all students who wish to take it, as long as their aid has not surpassed the cost of attendance or their loan amounts have not reached the aggregate limit. Repayment of the principal amount does not begin until six months after the borrower separates from HUC-JIR (by withdrawing, graduating or enrolling below half-time status). The borrower is responsible for the interest beginning on the date of disbursement.

Grad Plus Loan
The Grad Plus Loan is available to eligible students who wish to take out additional funds for the academic year. Student's eligibility is determined by subtracting their current estimated financial assistance of loans and scholarships from the standard Cost of Attendance for their program. This loan has an 7.9% interest rate and requires a credit check. The Grad Plus loan can be taken out in one or two installments and has a six-month grace period after you separate from the College-Institute (by withdrawing, graduating or enrolling under half-time.)


Matriculated students attending at least half-time, who are not in default and who do not owe a refund in any federally funded program are eligible to apply for Stafford Loans. Students need to be in good standing with current financial aid loans and not in default; students may not have a drug conviction or felony on their record; male students need to be registered for selective service. In addition, students must be legal US citizens or have a green card.

Minimum and Maximum Awards
All United States citizens and legal permanent residents are currently eligible to receive as much as $20,500 per year in Unsubsidized Stafford Loan monies. Students will be eligible for this amount unless they have reached the aggregate limit (see below.)

The aggregate amount of Subsidized Stafford loans obtainable is $23,000 for undergraduate students and $42,500 for graduate and professional students. The total maximum is therefore $65,500. The additional aggregate for Unsubsidized loans is $46,000 for undergraduate students and $92,500 for graduate and professional. The total maximum is $138,500.

Some lenders may indicate a loan minimum (usually $500) or a lower loan maximum.

Private - Alternative Loans
In addition to the Federal Stafford loans there are also private student alternative loans students can take out directly with lenders. Most of these loans are based on a student's credit rating and usually have higher interest rates. There are also private student loans for Canadian Students as well as international students that certain lenders offer.

Loan origination fees can vary from 0% to 3% of the principal amount of the loan, depending on your lender. The fee is collected in advance of each loan disbursement by the lending institution.

Interest Rate and Grace Periods
For new borrowers (those with no loans outstanding), the annual interest rate on both Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans varies with the 91-day T-bill. Rates in effect after 7/1/08 are 6.80% during school as well as while in repayment. The current cap rate is 8.25%. If you have any unpaid balances on previous loans, your rate will remain the same as your initial loan. There are no penalties for paying off student loans early.

Student borrowers can postpone repayment of loans while enrolled at least half time at the College. Upon separation from the institution (by withdrawal, graduation or enrolling under half-time), a student will have a six-month grace period for all current financial aid loans taken out during the student's residency at the College. Previous loans from other colleges will immediately go into repayment the day you separate from the College. Questions regarding loan deferment and special conditions should be addressed to The Director of Financial Aid.

Leave of Absence
Students who request a Leave of Absence from the college will be granted up to 180 days leave. After that amount of time if a student fails to come back to the college they will be automatically withdrawn from the program and loans that are currently on a deferment status will be updated to withdrawn.

Students returning from a Leave of Absence and have not made up work from the previous semester will not be permitted to take out more Stafford Loans until the student has completed the previous semester's work load or has completed a semester of a course load of at least half time.

For students on a leave of absence, the Cost of Attendance (COA) will be adjusted to reflect the student's COA minus the months or days the student is on leave.A sample schedule of the repayment of the Stafford Loans is as follows:

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HUC-JIR Financial Aid Scholarships

Year-In-Israel Students
Students eligible for financial aid may receive a scholarship to cover part of tuition and fees for the Year-In-Israel Program. (Students required to attend the Summer Ulpan may receive an additional Ulpan tuition scholarship.)

Please note: Students who do not complete their Year-In-Israel Program and a second year of academic study at a stateside campus will be required to repay all tuition scholarship monies to HUC-JIR. The National Business Office will contact students in this category to make arrangements for repayment.

Stateside Students 
Institutional Need-Based Tuition Grants are scholarships that do not need to be repaid. They are provided directly to the student from the College's own financial resources, often supported by generous alumni and donors who establish named scholarships. To be eligible for an HUC-JIR tuition grant, a student must demonstrate at least $5,000 in financial need based on the information in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Approximately 70% of students receive tuition grants.

Discretionary Scholarship Fund Policy
Students who have extraordinary financial need may apply for additional HUC scholarship funds through the Financial Aid Office. To apply for additional aid, students must submit a letter to the Director of Financial Aid, outlining reasons for requesting extra scholarship funds. Each student's case will be reviewed and those confirmed as having significant need may be awarded more scholarship if funds are available.

Outside Scholarship Policy
Students receiving full tuition scholarships from external sources that process their awards through HUC-JIR are not eligible to receive additional HUC-JIR scholarship aid.

Half-Time/Full-Time Equivalency
Graduate students may be eligible for a half-time or full-time equivalency, based upon the determination of their academic department, even if they are not enrolled for actual credits. Limited financial aid may be available to students with posted equivalencies. Cost of attendance for students with equivalencies is based upon living and miscellaneous expenses and not tuition and fees.

International Students
International students may apply for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion aid for up to a $12,000 scholarship by completing the CSS Profile. Students who are needy can apply for up to a 100% tuition scholarship by submitting a letter to the Director of Financial Aid, outlining reasons for requesting extra scholarship funds.

Jewish Communal Service Students
Scholarship amounts in the School of Jewish Communal Service Program may vary according to the individual program.