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Student Loan Programs

Borrower Entrance Counseling | Master Promissory Note (MPN) | National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) | NetPartner | Student Loan Game Plan 

Entrance Counseling is required before you can receive your first Direct Subsidized Loan or Direct Unsubsidized Loan as an undergraduate, or your first Direct PLUS Loan as a graduate/professional student. 

  • If you have not previously received a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), the Federal Government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming. If you are completing entrance counseling to borrow a loan as an undergraduate student, then the entrance counseling will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • To complete Entrance Counseling as an undergraduate student or graduate/professional student, you will need:
    • Approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.
    • Entrance Counseling must be completed in a single session.
    • Your FSA ID
    • Students must log in using their own FSA ID to complete Entrance Counseling. Use of another person's FSA ID constitutes fraud. Use only your own FSA ID information.
    • Name(s) of the school(s) you wish to notify of counseling completion

Exit Counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Exit counseling provides important information you need to prepare to repay your federal student loan(s). You'll need to provide the name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number for your closest living relative, two references who live in the U.S., and current or expected employer (if known).

Loans

The federal government has a variety of federal loan options available for student’s and parents, and we encourage you to review the following information carefully before making any decisions about your loans. If you have previously borrowed federal student loans at the Upper Iowa University or another postsecondary institution, you should begin by reviewing your borrowing history at www.nslds.ed.gov using your FSA ID. This will give you a better idea of how much you have borrowed to date and what your repayments might look like after graduation. Most importantly, remember that these are loans and they must be repaid, so borrow only what you need.  Please refer to the following links to help you better understand your loan options.  You do not have to make payments on Direct Stafford Loans while you are enrolled at least half-time (deferment). You also have a six-month grace period after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment before you begin repayment.

  • Federal Direct Loans: Loan option that is available to all undergraduate and graduate students, with both Subsidized and Unsubsidized options depending on financial need.
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans: Loan option for parents of undergraduate students
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans: Loan option for graduate students that have already exhausted their Federal Direct Loan options.
  • Alternative Loans: Loan option offered through private banks and lenders.  Generally only accepted if all other financial aid options have been exhausted.
  • Federal Perkins Loans: Interest-free loan (while in school) that is awarded to students on a first come, first serve basis.

Responsible Borrowing
If you decide to take out a loan, make sure you understand who is making the loan and the terms and conditions of the loan. Student loans can come from the federal government or from private sources such as a bank or financial institution. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually offer borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment options than loans from banks or other private sources. Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans

Responsible Borrowing How to Manage Your Student Loans  Repayment: What to Expect 
 Responsible Borrowing Video  Manage your student loans video  Repayment: what to expect video

Federal Direct Loans

Direct Stafford Loans, from the William D Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are low-interest loans for eligible undergraduate and graduate students to help cover the cost of higher education. These federal loans are borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. These loans do not require a credit check. A small origination fee is withheld from the loan when it is disbursed to you.

There are borrowing limits on the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow each academic year (annual loan limit) and in total (aggregate loan limit). A student may qualify to borrow both subsidized and unsubsidized loans based upon his/her demonstrated financial need and the maximum loan limit per grade level. The actual amount that you can borrow depends on your grade classification, whether you are a dependent or independent student, and other factors, and may be less than the maximum amounts shown in the loan limit chart.

There are two types of Federal Stafford Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

  1. Direct Subsidized Loans provide a fixed interest rate and are available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You are not charged interest on these loans while you are in school at least half-time and during deferment periods. The interest on a student’s subsidized loan begins during the student’s grace period.  Graduate students are no longer eligible for subsidized loans.

    A new borrower on or after July 1, 2013, must complete their degree within 150% of the published length of the borrower’s program to remain eligible for the interest subsidy benefits on all Direct Subsidized Loans. If a degree is not completed within the 150% timeframe, the borrower will lose all subsidy benefits and future eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans.

  2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans provide a fixed interest rate of 4.45% for undergraduate loans (6% for graduate students) disbursed July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, and are available to students regardless of financial need (although the FAFSA still must be filed). Interest accrues on an unsubsidized loan from the time it is first disbursed to you. You can pay the interest while you are in school or allow it to accrue and be capitalized (added to the principal of the loan) upon repayment.

Borrowing a Direct Loan: Master Promissory Note & Entrance Counseling

  • If you are a first-time borrower of Direct Stafford Loans you will need to complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov using your FSA ID. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN explains the terms and conditions of your loan and is used for loans that you receive over a period of multiple academic years.
  • New borrowers of Direct Stafford Loans also need to complete Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov using the FSA ID. This process helps students to understand their rights and responsibilities as a Direct Loan borrower.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for their student’s education as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. To be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan for parents:

  • The student for whom the parent is borrowing the PLUS Loan must have filed a FAFSA.
  • The parent borrower must be the student’s biological or adoptive parent or stepparent.
  • The student must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time.
  • The parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history. If the parent does not pass the credit check, the parent may still be able to borrow the loan if someone agrees to endorse the loan. The endorser promises to repay the loan if the parent borrower fails to do so.
  • The student and parent must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, must not be in default on any federal education loan, or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility.

Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. The interest rate is fixed at 7% (for all PLUS Loans disbursed from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018) and is charged from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full.  Interest rates will be determined on an annual basis, however rates for the specific academic year borrowed will be fixed for the life of the loan. An origination fee is deducted proportionately each time a disbursement is made.

Borrowing a Direct Parent PLUS Loan: Master Promissory Note & PLUS Request Process
The parent must complete a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at studentloans.gov using the parent borrower’s FSA ID. The MPN is a legal document in which the parent borrower promises to repay the loan and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN explains the terms and conditions of the loan and can be used for loans that a parent receives over a period of multiple academic years.

The Direct PLUS Loan Request must also be completed online at studentloans.gov using the parent borrower’s FSA ID. Once logged parents may click on the "Request Direct PLUS Loan" link.  This online process must be completed each year that a parent borrows a PLUS Loan.

Previous borrowers of a Direct PLUS Loan (for the same student) only need to "Request Direct PLUS Loan" at studentloans.gov since there is already an MPN on file for that parent.

If the credit is initially denied and the parent chooses to appeal or endorse the loan, the parent will be required to complete PLUS Loan Counseling at studentloans.gov.  

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

A graduate student may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students. The amount available is the cost of attendance (COA) minus all other financial aid awarded, including Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. You must not have an adverse credit history. If you do not pass the credit check, you may still be able to borrow the loan if someone agrees to endorse the loan. The endorser promises to repay the loan if the borrower fails to do so.

The interest rate for the Direct PLUS Loan for graduate students is fixed at 7% for loans disbursed July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, and interest is charged from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full.  Interest rates will be determined on an annual basis, however, rates for the specific academic year borrowed will be fixed for the life of the loan. An origination fee is deducted proportionately each time a disbursement is made. The repayment period for a Direct PLUS Loan begins at the time the PLUS Loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days after the final disbursement. However, you may defer repayment while you are enrolled at least half-time, and for an additional six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time.

  • You must complete a Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at studentloans.gov using your FSA ID. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay the loan and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN explains the terms and conditions of the loan and can be used for PLUS Loans that a graduate student receives over a period of multiple academic years.
  • You must also click on the "Request Direct PLUS Loan" link at studentloans.gov using your FSA ID. This online process must be completed each year that you borrow a PLUS Loan as a graduate student.

Alternative Loans

Credit-based loan options offered by private banks and lenders. These loans are only processed after all federal, state, and institutional eligibility has been exhausted. Exceptions will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Information regarding these types of loan programs for both student and parent borrowers, as well as a comparison tool for the most frequently used credit-based lenders by UIU students, can be found at FastChoice. Upper Iowa University does not endorse any credit-based loan programs. Borrowers may choose to pursue a credit-based loan with any lender that they wish, this is only a starting point and only provides a reference point for researching these types of loan programs. Students who wish to borrow in a credit-based loan program must also complete the GamePlan, an online credit counseling program before the loan can be certified by the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Perkins Loans

Perkins Loans provide fixed low interest rates (5%) and are available to students who demonstrate high financial need based on the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A credit check is not required to receive these loans and there is no origination fee. You are not charged interest on these loans while you are in school at least half-time and during grace and deferment periods. Perkins Loan funding at UIU is limited, so not all qualifying students will receive a Perkins Loan. Students who have been awarded a Perkins Loan must complete Entrance/Rights and Responsibilities and a Perkins Promissory Note online each year.

Beginning with the 2015-16 academic year: Students receiving their first Perkins Loan cannot receive a Perkins Loan in subsequent years.  Students that have accepted a Perkins Loan in a prior academic year may still be considered for Perkins Loans in the future provided they meet specific conditions set forth by the Department of Education.  Please contact our office with any questions. 

NOTE: When completing the Perkins promissory note you will be asked for a "National ID Number."  This field should be completed using your Social Security Number.

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