Federal Perkins Loans
The Perkins loan is a low-interest (5%) need-based loan to help you pay for your education after high school, for both undergraduate and graduate students. You can receive up to $5,500 per year as an undergraduate student, depending on availability of funds at the university. A graduate student may receive up to $8,000 per year, depending on availability of funds. Repayment begins nine months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.
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.
With Direct Loans, you:
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.
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.
These are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional 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.
Eligible federal student loans can be combined into one Direct Consolidation Loan.
Direct loan award amounts vary and depend upon your financial need (as determined by the federal government), grade level, and dependency status.
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.
Once you submit your application and complete necessary steps, you will be directed to complete the Self-Certification Form with your lender. You may also download the Self-Certification Form. This will need to be sent back to your lender. Once all forms are complete, the school will submit school certification to the lender. The amount certified cannot exceed your cost of attendance less other aid received.
Below is a list of lenders who have established themselves as quality lending institutions in the private lending market. You are free to choose any lender you would like below, or any other lender not listed, if you have some other private lender that you are working with for private student loans.
Note: The above listed private lenders were selected through an annual review process. For more information on this process, you can contact our office.
Yearly Loan Limits:
Dependent Classification Independent
$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 must 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:
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.
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.
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 noncitizens, 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: Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid
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 PIN (not your child's). If you do not have a PIN, you may request one from the official PIN 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 7.9%. 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. We deduct the fee 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.
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 PIN to begin the process. If you do not have your PIN, please visit the official PIN Website.
You can begin the MPN process by choosing:
1) Complete New MPN for Student Loans (if you are taking out a loan to pay for your own education); OR
2) Complete New MPN for Parent PLUS Loans (if you are taking out a loan to pay for your child's education)
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.