Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution. To be eligible for Federal Stafford and Plus loans, you must be enrolled in at least six hours per semester. Any accepted loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system. Students can access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by clicking HERE.
With Direct Loans, you:
- Borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact-the Direct Loan Servicing Center-for everything related to the repayment of your loans, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
- Have online access to your Direct Loan account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: Direct Loan Servicing Online
- Can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower, and you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.
The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loans:
These loans are for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
Effective as of July 1, 2013 students with a zero student loan balance will be limited to the amount of Subsidized Loans they can receive during their Undergraduate career. Eligibility will be limited to 150% of the length of their degree program. If degree is not received by the end of the 150% timeframe subsidized loans will be converted to unsubsidized loans.
These loans are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.
|Yearly Loan Limits|
|$5,500||Freshman (0-29 hours)||$9,500|
|$6,500||Sophomore (31-59 hours)||$10,500|
|$7,500||Junior/Senior (60+ hours)||$12,500|
NSU can prorate the Direct Loan Loan amount for an undergraduate who enrolls in only one semester as an undergraduate during the academic year and will graduate during the same academic year. The proration is based on a ratio of the number of hours enrolled during the semester divided by 24 hours multiplied by the applicable annual loan limit.
Life Time Loan Limits:
- $31,000 as a dependent undergraduate student
- $57,500 as an independent undergraduate student (only $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
- $138,500 as a graduate or professional student (only $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans). The graduate loan limit includes any Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.
These aggregate limits include both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and any Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans received through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.
The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a promissory note that can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). There are two types of MPNs in the Direct Loan Program: 1) MPN for Student Loans, and 2) MPN for Parent PLUS Loans.
The process for completing an electronic MPN is simple. You will need to have your Department of Education issued FSA ID to begin the process. If you do not have your FSA ID, please visit the Official FSA ID Website.
You can begin the MPN process by choosing:
As required by the Department of Education, all first time borrowers at Northwestern State must receive entrance counseling before receiving their first loan disbursement. Additionally, all students that have previous loans must receive exit counseling before graduating, dropping below half-time, or resigning from the university. These counseling sessions will provide you with important information about your loans.
To begin a counseling session, please click on one of the links below:
Federal regulations state that if a student is in the first year of undergraduate studies and is a first time Stafford loan borrower, the school may not disburse the first installment of the loan until 30 calendar days after class begins.
Federal regulations state that a single semester loan must be disbursed in two installments, the first half at the beginning of the semester and the second half may not be disbursed until midpoint of the semester.
Disbursement cannot take place until the drop/add period has closed each semester.
Eligible federal student loans can be combined into one Direct Consolidation Loan.
Find the right repayment plan for you, learn how to make payments, get help if you can’t afford your payments, and see what circumstances might result in a loan being forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Click Here for more information
Loan Payment Calculator — Computes an estimate of the size of your monthly loan payments based on salary.
Parent Plus Loans
These are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods. Any accepted loan will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.
Parent eligibility requirements for a Direct PLUS Loan
You must be the student’s biological or adoptive parent or the student’s stepparent, if the biological or adoptive parent has remarried at the time of application. Your child must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time at a school that participates in the Direct Loan Program. For financial aid purposes, a student is considered “dependent” if he or she is under 24, unmarried, and has no legal dependents at the time the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is submitted. (Exceptions are made for veterans, wards of court, and other special circumstances.) If a student is considered dependent, then the income and the assets of the parent have to be reported on the FAFSA.
Additional requirements to receive a PLUS loan
Parent PLUS loan borrowers cannot have an adverse credit history (a credit check will be done). In addition, parents and their dependent child must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, must not be in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the Federal Student Aid programs. You can find more information about these requirements in: 2016-2017 Do You Need Money for College?
Applying for a PLUS Loan and the Master Promissory Note (MPN)
To apply for a Direct PLUS Loan, you must complete an online PLUS Application and online MPN if you have not previously completed a Direct PLUS MPN.
The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the Department. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s).
To complete an MPN online, you will be required to use your Department of Education-issued FSA ID (not your child’s). If you do not have a FSA ID, you may request one from the Official FSA ID site.
You’ll receive a disclosure statement that gives you specific information about any loan that the school plans to disburse under your MPN, including the loan amount and loan fees, and the expected loan disbursement dates and amounts.
Credit check & endorser alternative
When you apply for a Direct PLUS Loan, the Department will check your credit history. To be eligible for a PLUS Loan, you must not have an adverse credit history. If you are found to have an adverse credit history, you may still borrow a PLUS Loan if you get an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if you do not repay the loan. The endorser may not be the student on whose behalf a parent obtains a Direct PLUS Loan.
Loan limits, interest rate, and loan charges
There are no set limits for Direct PLUS Loans, but you may not borrow more than the cost of your child’s education minus any other financial aid received, such as a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan. The school will determine the actual amount you may borrow.
The interest rate for Direct PLUS Loans is a fixed rate of 6.84%. Interest is charged on Direct PLUS Loans during all periods, beginning on the date of your loan’s first disbursement. To find out more information on interest rates for Direct PLUS Loans, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center.
In addition to interest, you pay a loan origination fee that is a percentage of the principal amount of each Direct PLUS Loan that you receive. This fee helps reduce the cost of making these low-interest loans. The fee is deducted before you receive any loan money, so the loan amount you actually receive will be less than the amount you have to repay.
Dependent students whose parents have applied for but were unable to get a PLUS Loan are eligible to receive additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.
Federal Perkins Student Loan Program
Perkins funding will no longer be available beginning Spring 2018.
Students are encouraged to apply early for this loan because funds are limited. Students apply for this loan through the FAFSA. Students can also request this loan by completing and Aid Adjustment Form. Undergraduate students could be awarded up to $5500 per year and Graduate students up to $8000 per year. Students who receive this award must complete an Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory each year. Students will be notified via their NSU student email with the information needed to complete these requirements.
Grad Plus Loans
Direct Grad Plus Loans are not need based. A completed FASFA is required. If approved, the Grad student may borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus all other Financial Aid for the appropriate loan period. The Grad/professional student has additional plus eligibility beyond the maximum unsub loan limits. A student must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to be eligible for the loan. Students should always utilize Direct Loan eligibility prior to applying for a Grad Plus loan. Students who apply for a grad plus loan will be required to complete entrance counseling, sign a Master Promissory Note and complete Exit counseling if you graduate, drop below 6 hours or no longer attend. https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action
Students who do not qualify for federal financial aid, or who need additional funds beyond what federal financial aid can provide, have an option of applying for an alternative (private or non-federal) educational loan. Alternative loans are generally more expensive and should only be considered if absolutely necessary. In most cases, the student applicant’s credit and/or co-signer’s credit must be approved by the lender. The eligible loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less other aid received.
You (and your co-borrower, if applicable) should carefully research the options and apply for the alternative loan that best suits your needs. Keep in mind that usually your best option is to pursue federal loans. Be sure you have applied for all of the federal loans you are eligible for before you consider private loans.
Below is the link for FastChoice. FastChoice is an organization set up to provide all options that are available to apply for an alternative loan. Before you begin the application, you will be asked to complete the “borrowing essentials”. This is information that will guide you through the terms and conditions of accepting an alternative loan. FastChoice will give you items that will help determine which alternative loan best suits you. There will be a list of all lenders that meet your standards; these lenders will also give information pertaining to interest rates, rate type, grace period, etc. You are not required to apply for an Alternative loan through fastchoice. If you apply with another servicer please contact our office for processing. Research lenders to identify a lender that offers you acceptable interest rates, fees and disbursement and repayment options. For example, some lenders require immediate repayment, which can affect future disbursements.
Once your application is complete the school will be notified to submit certification to the lender. The amount certified cannot exceed your cost of attendance less other aid received.
Loans will be disbursed according to the disclosure statement from the lender. Most disbursement dates are timed to reflect the start dates of each semester. If you choose a lender that does not disburse funds via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), then a paper check will be issued to NSU and you. The paper check will require endorsement from you, the borrower, before funds will be credited to your account. The Office of Student Financial Aid will notify you to endorse a paper check.
The federal government requires private lenders to collect a self-certification form before processing a private loan. The form is designed to inform you about other sources of financial assistance and federal loan options. The form seeks to collect your cost of attendance and expected financial assistance at NSU. This information will be used by the lender as part of the eligibility determination process. Self-Certification Form
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Financial Aid Office.