Academics

US Student Loans


FAA Title Pictures - US Loan

Students who are citizens or permanent residents of the US may apply for Stafford and PLUS loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans - DL). This program includes Stafford and PLUS (parent and Graduate) loans only. Students attending foreign schools are not eligible for grants from the US government. Students must be registered in a degree program. Students in online or correspondence programs are not eligible.

How much can I borrow?

Stafford loans are need-based (subsidized) and non-need based (unsubsidized) and are subject to annual limits. The maximum amount you can borrow each year depends on your grade level and on whether you are a dependent student or an independent student. The loan calculation includes information from your FAFSA, information about other financial aid you are receiving and the cost of attendance (tuition and living expenses), which is set by the school. The loan calculation determines whether the base amount of the loan is subsidized or unsubsidized. The remainder of the Stafford loan is always unsubsidized. If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, an additional unsubsidized amount may be borrowed.

Annual Loan Limits for Dependent Undergraduates:

Grade LevelBase AmountUnsubsidized LoanTOTALAdditional Unsubsidized Loan if PLUS DeniedTotal if PLUS Denied
Freshman $3,500 $2,000 $5,500 $4,000 $9,500
Sophomore $4,500 $2,000 $6,500 $4,000 $10,500
Junior and Higher $5,500 $2,000 $7,500 $5,000 $12,500

 

Annual Loan Limits for Independent Undergraduates:

Independent undergraduates may borrow the same base amounts as dependent undergraduates plus both amounts of the additional unsubsidized Stafford loan.

Grade LevelBase AmountAdditional Unsubsidized StaffordTotal
Freshman $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Junior and Higher $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

 

Annual Loan Limits for Graduate and Professional Students:

Graduate and professional students may borrow up to the cost of attendance, to a maximum of $20,500US.

Grade LevelUnsubsidized Loan
Graduate or Professional $20,500

 

 How do I apply for a Stafford Loan?

  1. Complete a FAFSA form. Saint Mary’s University federal code is G08364.
  2. E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  3. E-mail financial.aid@smu.ca to advise us if you want the full eligible amount of Stafford loans or just the subsidized amount and of any financial aid/scholarships you are receiving (excluding any Saint Mary’s University awards). All funds and requests should be given in US dollars.
  4. Students who are first time borrowers of Stafford loans must complete Entrance Counselling.

How will I get the loan funds?

Funds will be disbursed electronically to your student account at Saint Mary’s University. The first disbursement will be in early September provided Entrance Counselling has been completed by mid-August. The second disbursement of funds for all students will be made the second week of January. Once your tuition and fees are paid, any remaining funds are to be used for your book and living expenses.

How do I apply for a PLUS Loan?

Parents and Graduate program students who wish to borrow funds through the Parent/Graduate PLUS program must complete 3 steps (4 steps for first time borrowers of the PLUS):

  1. Complete a FAFSA annually. Saint Mary’s University federal code is G08364.
  2. E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  3. Complete the Plus Loan application.
  4. E-mail financial.aid@smu.ca to advise us how much Parent/Graduate PLUS loan you wish to borrow and of any financial aid/scholarships you are receiving. All funds and requests should be given in US dollars.
  5. Students who are first time borrowers of Parent/Graduate PLUS loans must complete Entrance Counselling.

How are PLUS Loans disbursed?

Funds from Parent/Graduate Plus loans will be disbursed electronically in two disbursements to your student account. The first disbursement will be in early September (contingent on the Entrance Counselling being complete for Graduate Plus Loans), the second in early January.

Deadline to Apply:

All parts of the application process (FAFSA, completion of the MPN(s), and the email to be sent to us) should be completed by July 15 to ensure timely processing.  Once all necessary steps have been completed, your award letter will be emailed to you.  You will be asked to respond to the email confirming acceptance of the full award or part of the award.  Please note that SMU will continue to process Direct Loans up to one month prior to the end of the student's academic year.


Questions?

For mailing information or if you have further questions, please contact the Financial Aid & Awards or email: financial.aid@smu.ca.