Financial Aid: Student Loans

Student loans are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest. They are legal obligations. All Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans, Graduate PLUS Loans, and Parent PLUS Loans are funded through the U.S. Department of Education, with the exception of Federal Nursing Student Loans, which are funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

To apply for federal loans, complete the FAFSA application.

The U.S. Department of Education offers Direct Loans. There are three types of Direct Loans that can help students pay for their education.

For information on current Direct Loan Interest rates, visit


  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
  • The University of Mary Financial Aid Office will determine how much you can borrow based on the results of your FAFSA application.
  • The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan
    • while you're in school at least half-time (6 credits),
    • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period), and
    • during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).
  • Your lender is the U.S. Department of Education.
  • First time borrowers may not receive a subsidized loan for more than 150 percent of the length of their program of study, i.e. in excess of 6 years for a bachelor's degree.


  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • There is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
  • Borrowers are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during periods of grace, deferment, or forbearance, your interest will accumulate and be capitalized (interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

RESOURCE: Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students. This resource provides information on Direct Loans, including an overview of eligibility, the application process, and repayment.

  • These are loans parents can borrow to help pay the cost of education for their dependent undergraduate student.
  • The parent is the borrower and is responsible for repayment of principal and interest.
  • The parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history. In cases where a Parent Plus Loan is denied, the student may qualify for additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.
  • Repayment begins 60 days after final disbursement.
  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits).
  • Financial need is not required.

RESOURCE:Federal PLUS Loan Application


  • Graduate students may apply for these loans when all other student loan eligibility has been exhausted.
  • The student must be enrolled at least as a half-time student. 
  • Repayment will begin 60 days after final disbursement.
  • The student must qualify for this type of loan.

RESOURCE: Graduate PLUS Loan Application

  • These loans are awarded to junior and senior nursing students.
  • These loans are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need. Students must be enrolled half-time to qualify.
  • The lender is the University of Mary.

Private education loans are non-federal loans offered by lending institutions to assist students in meeting their education expenses. Interest rates and fees are generally determined by the creditworthiness of the borrower and/or co-signer.

Private loans can be utilized in addition to or in leu of federal direct loans. Prospective borrowers may qualify for loans or other assistance through completion of an annual FAFSA application. Terms and conditions of federal direct loans may be more favorable than the provision of private education loans. Students must apply for and qualify for private education loans based on the lender's requirements. Since they are private loans, they have different terms, conditions, repayment options, and fees than federal loans do.

The University of Mary offers an online comparison tool for you to use called FASTchoice. This comparison tool is customized by the University of Mary Financial Aid Office and is designed to assist you in making the private loan choice that is best for you. This is only one tool for determining loans; you may select any lender of your choice even if they do not appear in FASTchoice.

The University of Mary Financial Aid Office and its staff do not endorse, or accept any incentives, financial or otherwise, from any lender.

Consider the following when selecting a private loan lender:

Value and Benefits

  • What fees does the lender charge?
  • Does the lender offer competitive rates and pricing?
  • Does the lender offer interest rate reductions and rebates?
  • How easy is it for you to earn and keep rate reductions and rebates?

Customer Service

  • Does the lender recommend that students maximize their use of free aid and federal loans prior to considering a private loan? 
  • Can you apply online and do you have 24/7 access?

Repayment Options

  • When will you have to start repaying your loan?
  • Does the lender offer a variety of repayment options & solutions?
  • Does the lender educate borrowers about effective debt management?

Experience and Longevity

  • Is the lender a steady and responsible lender with a track record that demonstrates its commitment to students?

If you have not previously received a Federal Direct Loan, the Federal Government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure you understand the responsibilities and obligations of borrowing a loan. This online counseling session helps guide you through managing your student loans, both during and after your program.

You may need to complete more than one session depending on the type of loan you are offered.

  • Loan Entrance Counseling for Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and Graduate PLUS Loans is completed online at
  • Nursing Student Loan Entrance Counseling and disclosure statements are provided by ECSI, the University of Mary's nursing loan servicer.

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) Is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued Interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s).

Complete your MPN online at

If you were awarded a Federal Nursing Loan, your promissory note Is completed through ECSI, the University of Mary's nursing loan servicer. Funds cannot be released to your University of Mary student account until a promissory note is completed.