Undergraduate Student Loan Overview

The Undergraduate Student Loan Program provides interest-free loans of up to $7,500 to low- and moderate-income residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island to help pay undergraduate education expenses.

Loan applicants must have annual pre-tax household income at or below the income limits for their household size. If your annual pre-tax household income is slightly above the limit in the chart below, please contact Loan@HFLS.org to speak with a Loan Officer about your specific situation; you may still qualify for an HFLS loan.

The student’s parents are typically the borrower, unless the student is financially independent. A borrower may take one Undergraduate Loan per academic year over up to four years that the student is in school. Students must have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to submitting an HFLS loan application.

Loans are repaid in 25 installments of $300/month; one loan is repaid at a time in the order in which they are taken. If an independent student is the borrower, the monthly repayment amount is based on ability to repay until three months after the expected graduation date, at which time the monthly repayment will be $300/month until the loan is fully repaid.

All loans have a one-month grace period before repayments begin. Repayments are made on either the 5th or the 20th of each month; borrowers select their preference before HFLS disburses the loan. All loan repayments are made by electronic debit of a checking account.

Since HFLS lends to households, a married couple is considered one borrower. If an applicant is married or partnered, he or she must include their spouse’s/partner’s information in the application.

Guarantor Information

One guarantor is required for the first Undergraduate loan of up to $7,500. For each additional loan, two guarantors are required, and both guarantors must complete Guarantor Forms. Borrowers may use the same guarantors on additional Undergraduate Loan applications given that they still meet all eligibility requirements.

A married couple is considered one guarantor. If a guarantor is married or partnered, his or her spouse/partner must also complete and sign the Guarantor Form. 

Each guarantor is “jointly” and “severally” liable for the loan in the event a borrower is unable to pay for any reason. This means that, while HFLS would expect each guarantor to share equally in the responsibility of repaying the loan, each is legally liable for the full amount, and any one guarantor could be called upon to repay the balance due.

Guarantors must meet the following criteria:

  • US citizens or legal residents currently living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut
  • Have a checking account, good credit, and pre-tax household income of at least $50,000 a year
  • Currently employed (HFLS prefers persons who have worked at least one year in their present position), or if retired, can demonstrate their ability to repay through pension/retirement income or assets.

Even if they meet the requirements above, the following people may not guarantee a loan:

  • You, your spouse/partner, or your dependents
  • Persons who currently have an HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an HFLS loan
  • Persons who are financially unable to repay the loan

Loan Documents & Interview

The information and documents below are required for an Undergraduate Student Loan.

From the borrower:

  • Online Loan Application submitted by the applicant and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The Undergraduate Loan online application for parent borrowers can be found here; the application for student borrowers can be found here.
  • Student Loan Financial Aid Officer Assessment Form completed and signed by a Financial Aid Officer at the student’s school. A PDF assessment form can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
  • The student’s most recent tuition bill.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures and serve as proof of address for the borrower and their spouse or partner, if relevant (e.g. driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the borrower’s current address, HFLS may require proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or account statement).
  • The applicant’s most recent checking account statement (all pages), which must include the applicant’s name, bank name, checking account number, and routing number. If the routing number does not appear on the statement, the applicant may submit it separately.

From the guarantors:

  • Online Guarantor Form submitted by the guarantor and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The guarantor will receive an email including a unique link to an online Guarantor Form after the applicant submits their application.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs for the guarantors (and their spouses or partners, if relevant), e.g. a driver’s license or U.S. passport. HFLS may ask for proof of address if the ID does not provide it.

After receiving your online loan application and guarantor forms, an HFLS Loan Officer will contact you to schedule a 15-minute loan interview (by phone).

During the loan interview, an HFLS Loan Officer will review your application and other required documents with you, determine whether any additional information is needed, explain the loan closing process, and answer any questions you have.

Due to the high volume of loan applications received by HFLS, we ask that you please do not contact HFLS

Loan Decisions & Closing

HFLS reviews and decides on loan applications daily. If we have questions about your application or guarantor, you may receive a call or email from a Loan Officer asking for further information before HFLS will make its decision.

HFLS, in its discretion, may decline to make a loan, make a loan in an amount less than that requested, or require different or additional guarantors.

If your loan is approved, you will receive an email with loan closing documents for you to complete and sign electronically via DocuSign. The loan closing paperwork includes:

  • A Promissory Note, to be signed by the borrower, guarantor, and all spouses/partners
  • An Authorization of Automatic Payments (ACH) form, so the loan funds can be transferred directly into your checking account and so HFLS can withdraw monthly loan repayments directly from your checking account.

Once HFLS receives the electronically signed documents above, we will disburse your loan funds directly into your checking account within three business days. (Please note that it may take a few extra days after the disbursement for the loan funds to appear in your checking account.)