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Financial Aid

Financial Aid
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans?

A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by our office. The federal government pays the interest on these loans while students are in school at least half-time and during certain periods, such as deferment. For new subsidized loans originated from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014, loan interest begins accruing during the six-month grace period.

Unsubsidized loans are awarded regardless of financial need but you will be responsible for the interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You also must apply for Federal Financial Aid to receive this loan.

For both of these loans you will sign a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling. You will not need to sign another note for any subsequent loans for up to 10 years. 

2. How many credit hours do I need to be enrolled in to receive my loans?

Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours for every term (including summer) to receive their loans. Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 5 credit hours. 

3. How do I sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) or complete Entrance Counseling?

Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Notes and Entrance Counseling can be completed at Direct Loans will notify SIUe that you have completed it. 

4. What is the difference between Federal and Alternative Loans?

Also referred to as “private student loans,” alternative loans provide an option other than the more popular and standard forms of lending from federal and state governments, such as the Federal Direct Loans and PLUS Loans. Alternative loans don’t have as restrictive amount caps as Direct Loans. Depending on eligibility, you often are able to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus your other financial aid. The interest rate is tied into Prime or LIBOR interest rates. 

5. How do I increase/decrease my loans, or get them back if I declined them on my award letter?

A student can come into the Office of Student Financial Aid and potentially complete a loan revision to increase, decrease, or reinstate that loan after speaking with an advisor. Be sure that all necessary requirements have been completed before completing the loan revision (i.e. Entrance Counseling, MPN, enrollment, etc.) 

6. I owe tuition from a past semester; do I have any loan options?

Some alternative loan lenders will allow a student to borrow a loan for a past due balance. This loan can only be borrowed for the exact amount of the student’s bill or the student’s cost of attendance for the term. Our commonly used lenders can be found here.

7. How will I receive my financial aid?

At the beginning of the term, once all required forms are completed and requirements are met, all financial aid pays from the government to the University on the student’s behalf. The financial aid is then applied to the student’s bill by the Bursar’s Office. If there is any money remaining after the bill is paid in full, it will be returned to the student (or parent if assigned) in a refund by the Office of the Bursar. Remember, aid for the academic year is split evenly between the Fall and Spring terms. 

8. Why aren’t my loans crediting to my account?

You did not accept your loans.
You did not complete Entrance Counseling.
You did not complete a Master Promissory Note
You may have incomplete documents.
You are on Satisfactory Academic Progress due to poor academic performance.
You are not enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours undergraduates and 5 credit hours graduates). 

9. What if my parent is able to find an endorser or can successfully appeal the denied credit decision for their PLUS Loan?

The parent must then log on to with their FSA ID and password and complete the PLUS Loan Counseling. Note: This counseling must be done each time the credit decision is appealed or an endorser is found. 

10. When do I have to repay my federal loans?

For students, loan repayment begins 6 months after graduating or dropping below half-time status. Interest will begin accruing during the grace period for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The students are contacted by their servicer before repayment begins. If they are not contacted, they can log in to NSLDS to find their servicer’s contact information.

For Parent PLUS Loans, repayment begins within 60 days after the final loan disbursement; however, parents may request a deferment (delay in payment) for up to four years. There is no grace period. Interest begins to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made. The parent is contacted by their servicer to begin repayment, or the servicer’s contact information can be found by logging in to NSLDS. 

11. Where can I find out how much I borrowed in student loans?

You can access your aggregate student loans at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You will need your FSA ID to access this information. To obtain information regarding non-federal loans such as private loans, contact your private loan provider.

12. I want to consolidate my student loan debt. Where can I find all of my loan information and what lenders are consolidating student loans?

Students should start by checking the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid. This site allows students to find out which types of loans they have taken throughout the course of their education (at SIUe and elsewhere), who their lenders are, and the total loan debt. NSLDS receives data from schools, agencies that guarantee loans, the Direct Loan program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs.

Consolidation allows a borrower to combine one or more of their eligible federal education loans into one new loan. Contact information for your lender is available on the NSLDS website. To contact the Department of Education about consolidation, call (800) 557-7392-TTY users may call (800) 557-7395-or visit here.

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