Loans for college costs are financial aid that must be repaid in the future. Loans may be made to the student or the student’s parents to assist in paying for educational expenses. The total indebtedness from last year for an average graduating student was $21,350. Below is an explanation of the types of loans available and specific requirements of each.
- Federal Perkins Loan awards are based on need and made from a limited revolving student loan fund administered by the university. Priority consideration is given to high need students. Because it is a campus based aid fund it is awarded each year until funds are exhausted. Repayment begins nine months after the student ceases to be enrolled half time. A new loan request form and Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be signed and returned to our office each year that funds are awarded. In addition, Perkins loan entrance counseling must be completed each year.
- Federal Stafford Loans are offered to our students through the Federal Direct Lending Program. Subsidized Stafford loans have an interest subsidy while students are enrolled at least half time and during pre-repayment grace period. There is no interest subsidy on Unsubsidized Stafford loans and the student can choose to pay interest charges while in school, or let it accrue until repayment which will increase the principle. All first time borrowers must complete Stafford Loan entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is available to parents of dependent students. Eligibility is determined by subtracting all other aid from the cost of attendance. These loans are credit based. Each year a Parent Loan Request Form must be returned to our office. First time parent borrowers must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- Private / Alternative Student Loans are available from a number of different sources. They can be used to fill the unmet need between the financial aid package and the Cost of Attendance. Click here for a tool to help you select a bank.
- Graduate PLUS is a loan available to graduate students who need extra funding after receiving the annual maximum in Stafford Loans. These are credit based loans. Each year a Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form must be returned to the financial aid office. First time Graduate PLUS borrowers must also sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
Students who have taken out a loan must complete loan counseling prior to receiving their first disbursement. The dates and times that group entrance interviews or individual sessions are offered are available in the Financial Aid Office. During students’ last semester in school they are required to attend an exit interview to provide information about students’ rights and responsibilities.
Grants are need based financial aid and do not have to be repaid. Grants are only available to students who do not already have a bachelor’s degree. Funding for most grants is limited so early FAFSA filing each year is encouraged. Below are grants administered by our office.
- Federal Pell Grant is based on Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by FAFSA results. Pell grant funds are prorated for part time attendance.
- In December 2011, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74) into law. This law significantly impacted the Pell Grant Program. Beginning with the Fall 2012 semester, students are now limited to 12 full-time semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Students that are currently receiving the Pell Grant in the academic year 2011-2012 and have already used 600% of their Pell Grant eligibility will no longer be eligible to receive a Pell Grant starting with the Fall 2012 semester.
Students who have been receiving a Pell Grant, but who have not been attending full time, will have the number of semesters pro-rated. (for example: a student who only attends on a half-time basis (6-8 credits) for both fall and spring semester will have used 50% of the annual maximum allowance, thus allowing for more semesters of eligibility)
With these regulatory changes, please be aware of the number of semesters of Pell Grant received. This is especially important for those students who have changed majors once or many times.
To view the amount of Pell Grant that has been used, please log in to www.nslds.ed.gov using your Federal Student PIN (used for your FAFSA application).
Please do not hesitate to contact the financial aid office with any questions or concerns regarding the change to the lifetime Pell Grant eligibility. We would be happy to assist in any way possible. You can reach our office at (406) 791-5235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is awarded to students with the most need. Funding is extremely limited.