Current and continuing students: the financial information for the upcoming school year can be found on the portal at

Federal Direct Loan

The Federal Direct Loan is available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program to help pay for educational expenses. The Office of Financial Aid awards subsidized or unsubsidized loans, or a combination of both, based on financial need.

Loans are typically a large part of the average financial aid package; however it is up to the student to decide how much they need to borrow based on their own individual financial situation.  This year, the full amount will be processed.  You may request less than the amount listed on your award letter by e-mailing the amount you wish to borrow to

As a graduate student, please remember the financial aid package is based on one academic year at a time. The package represents the aid that you are eligible to receive during the current academic year and you can apply for additional aid the following academic year by filling out a renewal FAFSA. An academic year is defined as August-July for Financial Aid purposes at NNU.

Currently Graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized loans. 

​"Unsubsidized" means interest is accruing continuously from the day the funds disburse. You can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or defer it and add it to the principle of your loan, as long as you are attending at least half time (3+ credits).  If you do not qualify for the subsidized limit, students may receive an unsubsidized loan to make up the difference.  However, the student must repay the full loan amount.  Graduate students are eligible for a maximum of $20,500 unsubsidized loan funding.
Subsidized Stafford Loan Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
Based on financial need. Not based on financial need.
The federal government pays the interest on the loan while you are enrolled in school at least half-time. 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. (You are not required to pay the interest while you are in school, but we recommend that you do.)
Undergraduate student fixed interest rates:
4.29 percent for loans disbursed on/after July 1, 2015.
Undergraduate student fixed interest rates:
4.29 percent for loans disbursed on/after July 1, 2015.
Graduate student fixed interest rates:
as of Fall 2012, subsidized Stafford loans are no longer available for graduate students.
Graduate student fixed interest rates:
5.84 percent for loans disbursed on/after July 1, 2015.
Origination fees:
1.072 percent for loans first disbursed on/after December 1, 2013.
1.073 percent for loans first disbursed on/after October 1, 2014.
1.068 percent for loans first disbursed on/after October 1, 2015.
Origination fees:
1.072 percent for loans first disbursed on/after December 1, 2013.
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

What are PLUS loans?

Graduate students are eligible for this loan if they meet the following conditions:

  1. Qualify for federal financial aid;
  2. Are enrolled at least half-time (3 credit hours);
  3. Have educational expenses not covered by other financial assistance, such as the Direct Loan;
  4. Pass a credit check which is conducted by the US Department of Education

Borrowing Limits

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.

Application Process

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at  NNU's school code is 001624.
  2. Log into 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.
  3. 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
  4. Loan Certification: The NNU Financial Aid Office will certify your PLUS loan request and submit it for final approval, guarantee and disbursement.
  5. 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.



Alternative Loans

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.


For 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 If you are unsure who your lender is, please contact the Financial Aid Office or log into 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.


Federal 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.