US Student Loans
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 Level||Base Amount||Unsubsidized Loan||TOTAL||Additional Unsubsidized Loan if PLUS Denied||Total if PLUS Denied|
|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 Level||Base Amount||Additional Unsubsidized Stafford||Total|
|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 Level||Unsubsidized Loan|
|Graduate or Professional||$20,500|
Subsidized and Unsubsidized aggregate loan limits:
|Dependent Students||$31,000 - No more than $23,000 of this amont may be in subsidized loans.|
$57,500 for undergraduates - No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
$138,000 for graduate or professional student - No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.
How do I apply for a Stafford Loan?
- Complete a FAFSA form. Saint Mary’s University federal code is G08364.
- E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- 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):
- Complete a FAFSA annually. Saint Mary’s University federal code is G08364.
- E-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- Complete the Plus Loan application.
- E-mail email@example.com 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.
- 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.
- Saint Mary's University Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
- Saint Mary's University Refund Schedule
- Return to Title IV Refund Policy
- Saint Mary's University Consumer Information Disclosures
US Alternative (non-government) Loans:
Students in need of additional funding may consider alternative (non-government) loans. Please note the following information:
- All US students can apply, including those not registered in a degree program;
- Students studying less than half-time are eligible to apply for a loan from Sallie Mae Student Loans;
- Students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid received;
- A co-signer may be required;
- Alternative loan interest rates, fees and repayment options differ from US government loans;
- Saint Mary's University will certify other alternative loans, provided the organization will lend to a student attending an institution outside the US.
To apply for a US alternative loan, students should apply online via the loan provider's website. The lender will contact our office for cost and registration information. Some US alternative loan providers are:
- MELA - Maine Education Loan Authority
- Sallie Mae Student Loans
- VSAC - Vermont Student Assistance Corp
For mailing information or if you have further questions, please contact the Financial Aid & Awards or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.