Student Loan Frequently Asked Questions

What is a subsidized Stafford loan?

A subsidized Stafford loan is a federally funded loan that is awarded based on a student’s financial need. The federal government “subsidizes” the interest in this loan while you are in school or in deferment.

What is an unsubsidized Stafford loan?

An unsubsidized Stafford loan is a federally funded loan that is not awarded based on a student’s financial need. Interest is charged on this loan from the day it is disbursed until it is paid in full.

Is there a fee for a Stafford loan?

Yes, there is a 1% fee that is deducted from each disbursement.

What do I have to do to get my loan funds?

All borrowers, new or continuing, must complete the following steps to receive a Federal Stafford loan:

  • Complete the FAFSA for the appropriate academic year and supply any requested documentation
  • After receiving notice of your financial aid award, you will need to complete a loan request, as well as Online Entrance Counseling
  • Complete the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Do I need to be enrolled in a specific number of credit hours to qualify for a loan?

Yes, undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 or more credit hours to qualify for a student loan.

What do I need to do to get an in-school deferment form sent to my lender?

You do not need to do anything. The Registrar’s Office automatically notifies the National Clearinghouse 3 times each semester of a student’s enrollment. The first notification will be sent approximately two weeks after the semester starts.

I am transferring at the end of the Fall Semester to another institution but I already have loans in place for Spring Semester. Will that loan transfer to my new school?

No, financial aid does not transfer from one institution to another. You must reapply for aid at your new school. You must also request that your current school cancel your loan for Spring Semester. The new school will not be able to certify a loan for you if you have pending disbursements at your current school.

What is the interest rate?

Effective July 1, 2010 the interest rates are:      
Subsidized Stafford Loan – 3.4% undergraduate       Unsubsidized Stafford Loan – 6.8% undergraduate

How much can I borrow?

Eligibility for the Federal Stafford Loan Program is determined by the Financial Aid Office. The loan amount is based upon the students remaining eligibility determined by the colleges cost of attendance.

  • $5,500 for dependent freshman students (no more than $3,500 may be subsidized)
  • $9,500 for independent freshman students (no more than $3,500 may be subsidized)
  • $6,500 for dependent sophomore students (no more than $4,500 may be subsidized)
  • $10,500 for independent sophomore students (no more than $4,500 may be subsidized)

What can my loan money be used for?

Any expense incurred as it relates to education. This can include, but is not limited to, tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, living expenses, etc.

When is my money disbursed?

You will receive a loan disclosure statement with your scheduled disbursement dates. If your loan is guaranteed before the fee payment deadline date it can be applied towards your tuition. However, any residual funds are not refunded to you until after the semester begins and drop/add has ended.

When do I have to pay back my loan?

Repayment will start six months after you graduate, leave school or drop below half time enrollment.

My loan is for 2 semesters but I am graduating, what should I do?

If you are graduating and only need a loan for your final semester of enrollment, your award must be prorated based on your final enrollment. Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you are graduating Fall but have been awarded Fall/Spring or if you are graduating Spring and have been awarded Spring/Summer.

How long does it take to process my request?

It can take 1-2 weeks for Financial Aid to process your loan application and transmit the information to the Department of Education. Please allow additional time for loan requests to be processed during peak times.

Do I have to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

You must sign a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you have not previously borrowed in the Direct Loan Program. You will need your FAFSA pin number to sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN). If you don’t know your FAFSA pin number, go to Students and parents can complete an MPN electronically via the Web site at

Do I need to complete Entrance Counseling?

Yes, all students will be required to complete the online Entrance Counseling. You may complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling electronically via the Web site at

Where can I find information on who services my federal loans?

Information on all of your federal loan debt, FFEL & DL, can be accessed via National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at

How do I contact the Direct Loan Program?

The U.S. Department of Education Direct Loan Program Customer Service phone number is 1-800-848-0979.



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