Have questions about the Brazos Student Loan? We've answered some of the most common questions below!
If you still have a question give us a call at 1-800-453-0841.
Who may apply for a Brazos Student Loan?
Brazos Student Loans allow students who are Texas residents to finance an undergraduate or graduate education at one of over 2,000 schools nationwide.
Where is Brazos able to lend?
At this time, Brazos only lends in the state of Texas, to Texas residents.
If you’re not a Texas resident we can still help.
How much can I borrow with a Brazos Student Loan?
You may borrow up to the cost of attendance, less other financial aid received, as certified by the school you are attending. The minimum loan amount is $1,000.
Can the Brazos Student Loan be used for more than tuition?
Yes, it can be used to cover any school-certified costs, including tuition, housing, books and more. All loan proceeds, however, will be disbursed to the school. Schools will typically deposit the amount not owed for tuition and fees to your designated account. See the "Certifying the Cost of Attendance" section for more details.
Can a Brazos Student Loan be used to pay for graduate school?
Yes! The Brazos Student Loan is available to help pay for a graduate degree. The Brazos Student Loan is a great option to help pay for law school, medical school, dental school, an MBA or other advanced degree programs.
How does a Brazos Student Loan differ from federal Direct Loans?
See our comparison chart.
Why choose Brazos?
Brazos is a Texas nonprofit student loan company that is managed by The Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation, a nonprofit company that has been helping Texas families finance the cost of their college education for over 40 years. Brazos is not affiliated with any school, and as a nonprofit, our goal is to save you money by offering the most competitive rates possible. For additional information about Brazos, check out our About Us page.
Am I eligible for a Brazos Student Loan?
To be eligible for a Brazos Student Loan, you must:
Please review our Eligibility Criteria for further details.
Should I apply with a cosigner?
If your credit history does not meet our minimum credit criteria, you may still qualify by applying with a qualified cosigner. Additionally, even if you meet the minimum requirements, applying with a cosigner who has a stronger credit history may reduce the interest rate on your student loan rate even further, thereby saving you more money over the life of the loan.
What types of Student Loans do you offer?
We offer variable and fixed rate loans with multiple repayment terms available.
What repayment options are available?
At the time of application, Borrowers can select from two repayment options: Immediate Repayment or Deferred Repayment. Under the Immediate Repayment option, Borrowers will enter repayment upon full disbursement of the loan and are not eligible for deferment while pursuing the degree for which the loan was obtained. Under the Deferred Repayment option, Borrowers will enter repayment the lesser of ceasing to be enrolled at least half time or fifty-four months plus a six month grace period. For further details on each option, see Repaying your New Student Loan Section below.
Once the choice is made and the loan originated, it cannot be changed and will apply for the life of the loan. Borrowers should carefully consider their ability to repay the loan while attending school, the potential need to defer payments if returning to school after the loan enters repayment, as well as the cost of capitalized interest when selecting arepayment option.
What are variable and fixed rate loans?
Variable rate loans carry an interest rate that is recalculated periodically based on a market index rate plus a set number of percentage points. The interest you pay on these loans may increase or decrease after it has been originated depending upon changes to that market index rate. Because the rate may change, your payment may vary over the life of the loan as well. Variable rate loans tend to be less expensive at the beginning of the loan than comparable fixed rate loans of the same term.
Fixed rate loans carry a set interest rate and payment for the life of the loan. This provides predictable payments for the borrower. Because fixed rate loans create some interest rate risk for the lender, fixed interest rates tend to be higher at the beginning of the loan than comparable variable rate loans.
Are there any fees charged to take out a Brazos Student Loan?
No, we do not charge any origination fees. Additionally, we do not charge prepayment penalties and borrowers may prepay their loans at any time.
How will the interest rate be determined?
Fixed Rates. The interest rate for a fixed rate Student Loan depends on your credit profile, the repayment option chosen, and the length of repayment term that you select for the loan. The rate will remain constant for the life of the loan, except for periods where you may take advantage of the Auto-Pay Discount.
Variable Rates. Variable Rate is equal to the ”Rate Index” as described below plus the margin. The Variable Rate may change on the first day of the calendar month after the Rate Index is determined (a “Change Date”). In no event will the Variable Rate exceed 9.90%. A change in the Variable Rate will cause the monthly payment amount to change.
The Rate Index will be the One-Month LIBOR that was published in The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth (25th) day (or if such a day is not a business day, the next business day thereafter) of the month immediately preceding the Change Date. For example, the Rate Index that will be used on the Change Date of April 1 will be the Rate Index that was published on March 25. The Rate Index will be in effect for each monthly period from the Change Date through and including the last day of the calendar month. The Rate Index will be rounded to two decimal places (eg. 5.755% to 5.76% and 5.753% to 5.75%).
Should I choose a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate loan?
Whether you choose a fixed or variable interest rate really depends on your particular financial situation.
Do you offer a reduction in interest rates for automatic payments?
Yes, we offer a .25% interest rate reduction (the “Auto-Pay Discount”) once you have entered repayment and you sign up with your loan servicer to have your payments automatically drafted from your bank account. Failure to make payments may result in the loss of the 0.25% Auto-Pay Discount. You may requalify for the Auto-Pay Discount upon reauthorization of automatic payments from a valid bank account. The Auto-Pay Discount will not apply in-between disbursements, during periods of deferment or forbearance. Once you have entered repayment, you may contact your loan servicer, Firstmark Services, to enroll in this program.
What is the Cost of Attendance?
As defined by Congress, the Cost of Attendance is an estimate of the cost to attend a particular school for one academic year. The Cost of Attendance (budget) includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and if applicable, dependent care. It can also include other expenses like an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer, costs related to a disability, or costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
Where can I find the Cost of Attendance?
The Cost of Attendance is determined, specifically for your situation, by the school you are attending, and may be obtained from the school's financial aid office. The financial aid office will send you an Award Letter indicating the Cost of Attendance and additional financial aid which could include scholarships, grants, institutional aid and federal loans.
What is a Private Education Loan Self Certification?
During the application process, you will be required to complete and certify a Private Education Loan Self Certification. On this certification, you will be asked to calculate how much you need to borrow in private loans based upon the Cost of Attendance and other financial aid that you have been awarded. This is used to help promote awareness of the amount you are borrowing, as well as to prevent borrowers from borrowing more than what is needed. You should use your Award Letter from your school, as well as other information you can obtain from your financial aid portal, if possible, in completing this certification.
What is the School Certification Process?
In addition to the Private Education Loan Self-Certification, the school will certify certain information related to your enrollment. We will obtain the school certification from the school as a part of the application process. The school you are attending must certify that:
What happens if a school certifies an amount which differs from the requested loan amount?
Sometimes the school may certify an amount that is different than the loan amount that you request. If the amount the school certifies is higher than the amount you request, the certification will cover the lower amount that you have requested and the loan will be approved for the lower amount that you requested.
If the school certifies an amount less than the amount you have requested, but is within the program limits, the loan amount will be adjusted to match the amount the school certifies. This adjustment will be evident when you receive your Final Approval Disclosure as part of the loan process.
If the school certifies an amount less than the program minimum ($1,000), the loan will be denied.
Who is originating my loan?
Brazos Student Loans are originated by Brazos Education Lending Corporation. Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet, is the processor for Brazos originations. When you click "Apply Now" to apply for a Brazos loan, you will leave the studentloans.com website and be taken to the Firstmark Services loan origination website for the processing of your loan application.
Does applying for a loan affect my credit score?
Yes, the application process does include a hard credit pull which may impact your credit score. We do offer a “soft credit pull” that allows you to see what loan options, repayment terms and interests rates may be available to you before you decide whether or not to proceed with the application and the hard credit pull.
What do I need to apply?
You will need:
How long does it take to receive my Brazos Student Loan?
Once you submit your application, your credit will be pulled (hard credit pull) in order to pre-approve you for the loan. This pre-approval is typically an instant decision. Once you are pre-approved, you will be asked to upload documents to verify income, cost of attendance, and residency. We estimate the process could take a few weeks, depending upon when you are applying for the loan. Having the documentation ready when you apply will help speed up the process. Once you have uploaded your documents and they have been approved, we will request certification from your school.
Once the school has certified the loan and you have accepted the loan, funds will be disbursed to the school based on the school’s disbursement schedule. Schools typically certify loan requests just prior to the start of the school period. For a standard academic year, disbursements are typically set with half of the loan amount be disbursed just prior to the start of the fall semester and the other half just prior to the start of the spring semester.
When will I have to start making payments on my loan?
When you apply for the loan, you will have the option to select one of two repayment options: Deferred Repayment or Immediate Repayment. The option you choose will determine when you will have to start making payments. Once you make the choice, it applies for the life of the loan and cannot be changed.
The period of time when you have to make payments if referred to as the Repayment Period. The period before the Repayment Period begins, and during which no payments are due, is referred to as the Interim Period.
Deferred Repayment: If you choose this option, the Interim Period, during which time no payments are due, begins on the first disbursement date and ends on the date that is six months (grace period) after you graduate or cease to be enrolled at least half time at an eligible school. The Interim Period can never exceed sixty (60) months. The Repayment Period begins immediately after the Interim Period ends. Your first payment will be due between 30 and 60 days of the beginning of the Repayment Period.
Immediate Repayment: If you choose this option, the Interim Period, during which no payments are due, begins on the first disbursement date and ends once the loan has been fully disbursed. The Repayment Period begins immediately after the Interim Period ends. Your first payment will be due between 30 and 60 days of the beginning of the Repayment Period. Please note that this means, with the immediate repayment option, you will be required to make payments on your loan while you are in school.
Interest will continue to accrue during the Interim Period and any unpaid, accrued interest will capitalized upon entering the Repayment Period.
Can I defer payments on my studnt loan while in school?
If you have chosen the Deferred Repayment option, as described above, you will not enter the Repayment period, and thus will not have to make payments on your loan, while you are enrolled at least half time in a degree granting program, with a cap of sixty (60) months. Once you enter the Repayment Period, and have begun making payments because you have graduated or stopped attending school, and you re-enroll at least half-time at an eligible school, you may request an In-School Deferment of up to fifty-four (54) months. You will have to provide proof of separation or graduation in order to qualify.
If you have chosen the Immediate Repayment option, you must make payments on your loan while you are in-school completing the degree level for which the loan was obtained. Once you have graduated with the degree for which the loan was obtained, and you re-enroll at least halftime at an eligible school pursuing another degree, you may request an In-School Deferment of up to fifty-four (54) months. You will have to provide proof of graduation to qualify.
In addition, if you are in a Medical Residency or Internship, you may request a Medical Residency or Internship Deferment, to be granted in one (1) year increments so long as you can show continued proof of participation in a medical residency or internship.
Immediately following the end of any period of Deferment, you may also request an additional six (6) month period during which time no payments are due, which is referred to as a Post-Deferment Grace.
Interest will continue to accrue during periods of Deferment and Post-Deferment Grace and any accrued, unpaid interest will capitalize upon re-entering active repayment.
When does interest capitalize?
Interest that accrues and remains unpaid will be added to the principal balance of the loan (capitalized) at the end of the Interim Period, as well as at the end of any periods of forbearance or deferment. For the Deferred Repayment option, the Interim Period ends six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half time or you graduate (not to exceed 60 months). For the Immediate Repayment option, the Interim Period ends once the loan is fully disbursed.
Can I pay interest on the loan before the loan is fully disbursed?
Yes, you may pay interest on the loan prior to full disbursement. This can help prevent interest from being capitalized and added to the principal balance of the loan at the time the loan is fully disbursed.
Who will service my student loans?
Brazos Student Loans are serviced by Firstmark Services, a division of Nelnet.
How do I set up payments for my new loan?
Instructions for registering your online account will be provided to you by Firstmark Services. Once registered, you will be able to log in online and setup payments. Additionally, once you have entered repayment, and have registered with Firstmark Services, you will be able to set up automatic payments to take advantage of the Auto-Pay Discount. Auto-Pay Discounts will not apply during periods of deferral or forbearance and will not apply until the loan is fully disbursed.
Is my interest deductible for tax purposes?
Tax questions are complex and you should consult your own tax advisor to answer this question. However, Brazos loans are considered qualified education loans for federal and state tax considerations. You may or may not be eligible for deducting interest on your student loans depending on your individual situation.
Do you offer graduated or income-sensitive repayment options?
No, once you enter the Repayment Period, your monthly payments will be calculated such that your loan will be repaid within the repayment term you selected. This cannot be modified. If you experience financial hardship, and have problems making your payments, certain forbearance options may be available.
What if I am having trouble repaying my loan?
Three types of payment forbearance are available. They are described below. Please contact your servicer, Firstmark Services, for details.
Economic hardship forbearance
Borrowers are able to postpone payment on their loan for 3 months at a time, with a cumulative forbearance length of 12 months.
Borrowers on active duty may apply to have their loan payments postponed while on active duty. Cumulative military forbearance length of 36 months is available.
Natural Disaster forbearance
Borrowers affected by a natural disaster may request a forbearance of up to 12 months, in 3 month increments.
Interest continues to accrue during periods of forbearance listed above. At the end of any forbearance period, other than Natural Disaster Forbearance, the accrued interest is added to the balance of your student loan and the loan is reamortized to ensure the loan pays off in the applicable repayment term. This could change your monthly payments .
Does the Brazos Student Loan offer a grace period?
Yes. If you have chosen the Deferred Repayment option at the time you applied, your Interim Period does include a six month period after you have graduated or ceased to be enrolled half time during which time payments are not due. In addition, for both the Deferred Repayment option and the Immediate Repayment option, if you have qualified for an In-School Deferment, you may also request a six-month Post-Deferment Grace immediately following the In-school Deferment.
What is the difference between interest rate and APR?
The interest rate is the percentage of the loan amount that is charged for borrowing money. The APR, or annual percentage rate, represents a more complete view of what you may be or are being charged and includes fees, such as origination fees if applicable, as well as costs attributed to times when the loan is estimated to be in a status where payments are not being made but interest continues to accrue, such as the Interim Period. An advertised APR, which may be found on websites and marketing materials, always assumes certain facts about a “standard” loan, such as an assumed period of time in the Interim Period, that may not line up exactly with your specific facts and circumstances. Once you actually apply for a loan, you will be calculated and provided with an APR that more closely aligns with your specific facts and circumstances and, thus, may be different than what was advertised.
Will the loan be placed in default or come immediately due if either I or a cosigner files for bankruptcy?
No, the loan will not be placed in default or be deemed immediately due and payable in full if the primary borrower or cosigner files for bankruptcy.
What happens to the loan if the student or cosigner dies?
If you die, the loan is forgiven as to all parties on the loan, including the cosigner. If the cosigner dies, the cosigner is removed from the loan, and you will be solely responsible for repayment of the loan for the remainder of the repayment term. We do not accelerate debt upon death of any party to the loan and we will not pursue the estate of a deceased individual.
Is there a cosigner release program?
Yes, we offer a cosigner release program. A borrower may request to have the cosigner released after making 48 consecutive on-time payments or prepaying an amount equal to 48 months of principal and interest. Additionally, the borrower will have to pass a credit check and qualify with at least the same FICO score as the cosigner on the loan at the time of application.
If I default on my loan, is my cosigner responsible for repaying my loan?
Yes. If you default on your Brazos Student Loan and have a cosigner, your cosigner will be liable to pay your loan.