Federal Direct Loan
Graduate students are eligible for an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan if they meet the following conditions:
- Have submitted a FAFSA;
- Are enrolled at least half-time (3 credit hours); and,
- Have educational expenses.
The Federal Direct Loan is available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program to help pay for educational expenses. Once a student is accepted into a graduate program and receives the student's FAFSA information, the Office of Financial Aid awards graduate students unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans up to $20,500 per year. It is up to the student to decide how much they need to borrow based on their own individual financial situation. You may request less than the amount listed on your award letter by e-mailing the amount you wish to borrow to firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your student ID when emailing).
Please remember the financial aid package is based on one academic year at a time. The package represents the aid that graduate students are eligible to receive during the current academic year. An academic year is defined as August-July for Financial Aid purposes at NNU.
An unsubsidized loan is one where interest is accruing continuously from the day the funds disburse. A student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or defer it and add it to the principle of his or her loan, as long as the student is attending at least half time (3+ credits). Graduate students are eligible for a maximum of $20,500 unsubsidized loan funding.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- Not based on financial need.
- Interest begins accumulating as soon as funds are disbursed until the loan is paid in full. Accrued interest will be added to the balance of the loan. (While students are not required to pay the interest while in school, it is recommended.)
- Graduate student loan fixed interest rate:
- 5.84 percent for loans disbursed on/after July 1, 2015.
- Origination fee:
- 1.073 percent for loans first disbursed on/after October 1, 2014.
- 1.068 percent for loans first disbursed on/after October 1, 2015.
Graduate PLUS Loan
Graduate students are eligible for this loan if they meet the following conditions:
- Qualify for federal financial aid;
- Are enrolled at least half-time (3 credit hours);
- Have educational expenses not covered by other financial assistance, such as the Direct Loan; and,
- Pass a credit check which is conducted by the US Department of Education
A student may borrow up to the difference between the total annual cost of education, including educational fees, books, living and travel expenses, and any financial aid for which the student is eligible. The student must receive his or her maximum Direct Loan eligibility for the year before taking advantage of the Graduate PLUS loan. Some students may find that they do not qualify for Graduate PLUS because their total cost of attendance does not exceed the Direct Loan maximum. Please contact our office if you have questions about the amount for which you might qualify.
Graduate PLUS Loan or Alternative Loan?
Unlike alternative laons, Graduate PLUS can be consolidated with the student's Stafford or Direct loans after graduation, which would allow the student to keep all loans with one holder. This has the potential of greatly reducing the student's monthly loan payment. Because various alternative loan programs have different interest rates and loan terms, it is good to compare those terms when choosing a loan. Some things to consider are the length of the repayment period, the interest rate formula and frequency of interest capitalization (i.e. does interest get added to principal quarterly, annually, at start of repayment?), origination fees, and eligiblity for forbearances and deferments.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov. NNU's school code is 001624.
- Log into www.studentloans.gov using your Department of Education FSA ID. This is the same FSA ID used to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically. From there, select "Request a Direct PLUS Loan" from the menu and then select "Graduate PLUS" on the following page. Be sure to request NNU as the school of choice to ensure we receive the loan information.
- Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling: The borrower will be sent information electronically on how to complete their promissory note and entrance counseling, or you can visit www.studentloans.gov.
- Loan Certification: The NNU Financial Aid Office will certify your PLUS loan request and submit it for final approval, guarantee and disbursement.
- Loan Disbursement: PLUS loans disbursements coincide with how many semesters you will be attending during the academic year. If you start in fall, there will three disbursements (fall, spring, summer). If you start in spring, there will be two disbursements (spring and summer) and a summer start will be a single disbursement. All disbursements take place the first day of classes. Any refund checks that are due are issued the 2nd Friday after classes begin.
If you need additional funding to supplement your financial aid package, alternative student loans are an option. Alternative loans are private loans offered by lending institutions. They are not part of the federal government’s Direct Loan program.
We encourage you to first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for all other available aid programs before pursuing alternative loans. Our office strongly encourages you to first utilize any grants, scholarships, work study employment and federal student loan eligibility before considering alternative loans. The interest rates and repayment terms with alternative loans are generally less favorable than those of the federal student loan programs.
Northwest Nazarene University does not recommend any specific lenders for private alternative loans. If you decide to utilize an alternative loan, we recommend comparing the loan products and lenders to find the best interest rate and repayment options for your situation. Please remember that you will have to pay back these loans with interest, so only borrow what you need.
NNU uses ELMSelect as an online, lender-neutral platform to display a historical list of lenders and education loan products that our students have used over previous years. These lenders have not been ranked and are presented in no particular order.
RepaymentFor Federal Direct Student Loan Programs, loan repayment begins six months after you graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time status for the loans you have borrowed while attending NNU. The exact schedule and amount of your repayment will not be known until your loan repayment begins. Check with the Department of Education for more information and loan repayment calculators to assist you in estimating your monthly payment.
If you had student loans prior to attending NNU, please be aware that you may have already used your 6 month grace period for those loans. As soon as you graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time status and even possibly with half-time status if you do not have a new loan for that year, you can enter repayment on those prior loans immediately.
For loan deferment options, it is best to contact the Department of Education. Please also contact the Department of Education regarding consolidation www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov. If you are unsure who your lender is, please contact the Financial Aid Office or log into www.nslds.ed.gov using your FAFSA pin number. This website will only show your federal student loan and grant history and does not include any alternative or outside loans you may have borrowed.
GrantsFederal Pell Grant: The United States Government, through the Department of Education, has made funds available for Federal grant programs. Per Federal guidelines, graduate students are not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant once they have completed and undergraduate degree.
Federal TEACH Grant: The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides federal grants of up to $4,000 per year**, for a maximum of $8,000. In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, a student must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or a private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. As a recipient of a TEACH Grant, a student must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which the student received the TEACH Grant*. NNU has chosen to participate in the TEACH Grant program by offering the TEACH Grant to students in master level programs pursuing teaching degrees in high-need fields.
To be eligible for the TEACH Grant a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, the student must enroll in a TEACH eligible program, must enter NNU with a GPA of 3.25 and a plan to serve in a high-need field. Eligible students must also complete TEACH entrance counseling and an Agreement to Serve. A financial aid officer will contact students regarding the steps involved in processing the TEACH Grant.
*IMPORTANT: As indicated above, the TEACH Grant does have a service obligation. Failure to meet this service obligation will result in the TEACH Grant converting to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan that will charge interest from the date the grant was disbursed. According to "Make Sure Your TEACH Grant Doesn't Become a Loan," a July 2015 article in U.S. News & World Report, "about one-third of all TEACH Grants disbursed since the program's inception in 2008 have been converted into loans. Of those grant--and now loan--recipients, 19% did not understand that the grant could be converted to a loan." By completing entrance counseling and the Agreement to Serve, a student acknowledges full understanding of the service obligation and the consequences should the service obligation not be met.
**Temporarily reduced due to Federal sequestration measures. Please click here for more information.
If a student withdraws from all courses during a semester, regardless of the reason, federal regulations require Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) to determine the amount of Title IV Federal aid the student has earned. The Title IV aid programs covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Direct Loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized), Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), Federal Perkins Loans, TEACH Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
Though a student’s aid is posted to his or her account at the start of each period, funds are earned as the student completes the period. If a student withdraws during his or her expected term of enrollment the amount of Title IV aid that the student has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If the student received more assistance than has been earned at the time of withdrawal, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or by the student to the federal government. This is referred to as a Return to Title IV (R2T4).
Federal regulations require a recalculation of financial aid eligibility if a student:
- officially withdraws from all courses for the semester;
- stops attending before the semester ends without officially withdrawing;
- fails all classes; and/or,
- does not complete all the sessions for which they were originally registered for in a period of enrollment.
Students who do not begin attendance in classes are not eligible for federal financial aid and must repay any federal assistance originally received.
The R2T4 calculation may result in the student and/or parents being responsible for directly returning additional loan amounts to the U.S. Department of Education.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that must be returned is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that must be repaid is half of the grant funds received or that were scheduled to be received. Grant overpayments of $50 or less do not need to be repaid. Arrangements can be made through NNU or the U.S. Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
Determining the Amount of Federal Aid Earned
Students earn the Title IV aid they originally received by remaining enrolled in and participating in all classes for which they are registered. Participation may be through physical attendance or active participation such as submission of homework or participation in course discussions for online courses.
The amount of federal aid that has been earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if 30% of the period of enrollment has been completed prior to withdrawal, the student has earned 30% of his or her aid but has not earned the remaining 70%. Return of Title IV funds are based on this 70% unearned percentage.
Once a student has attended 60% of the semester for which he or she is registered, the student is considered to have earned all of the financial aid originally awarded and will not be required to return any funds.
If the student received (or the student’s parent received on their behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, NNU must return an amount equal to the lesser of:
- the student’s institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage, or
- the student's Title IV program assistance multiplied by the unearned percentage.
Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of Title IV Funds
If a student does not receive all of the funds earned, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. Prior to disbursal of a post-withdrawal disbursement, the student must provide NNU with permission to do so. The student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that no additional debt is incurred.
NNU is entitled to use all or a portion of the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges. The student must provide NNU permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give NNU the requisite permission, the student will be offered the funds; however, this will result in a balance due to NNU.
For Students Enrolled in Modules
A student is considered withdrawn if the student does not complete all of the days in each session that the student was originally scheduled to complete. NNU tracks enrollment in each session that does not span the entire fall, spring, or summer semester and combines the sessions to determine the students expected period of enrollment.
NNU determines if a student enrolled in a series of modules is a withdrawal and subject to recalculation of federal financial aid eligibility based on the following questions:
- After beginning attendance in the period of enrollment did the student cease to attend or fail to begin attendance in a course he or she was scheduled to attend? If the answer is no, this is not a withdrawal.
- Was the student still attending any other courses when the student ceased to attend or failed to begin attendance in a course? If the answer is yes, this is not a withdrawal.
- After ceasing to attend or failing to begin attendance in a course did the student confirm with NNU that he or she will be attending a course in a session beginning later in the enrollment period? If the answer is yes, this is not a withdrawal.
If the answer is no, this is a withdrawal and the R2T4 calculation will be performed.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from the NNU refund policy. Therefore, a student who withdraws may still owe funds to NNU to pay for outstanding institutional charges. NNU may also charge a student for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return.