Degree-seeking Seminary students who are United States citizens or eligible non-citizens can apply for federal student loans to assist in funding their education. Federal rules require that you enroll in at least four hours of credit for each semester in which you plan to borrow money. Students enrolled in doctoral or certificate programs, including the Spiritual Direction or Urban Ministry certificates, are not eligible for federal loans.
North Park strongly encourages graduate students to minimize student borrowing and debt, as much as possible. However, many graduate students do choose to borrow student loans as part of their financial aid packages. All student loans must be repaid; most federal student loans are offered at a significantly lower interest rate than other private loans.
In order to explore options for student loans, you must complete a FAFSA for each academic year you want loan funding. Generally, you will start loan repayment six months after you graduate or leave school.
Please note that North Park is not the lender or servicer of any student loan. If you do access student loans, you are responsible for submitting correct, current address information to your lender/servicer for any loans you take out. This is especially important as you leave North Park and enter repayment. Name and address information updated at North Park will not be forwarded to your lender/servicer.
Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans for Graduate Students
Graduate students may be eligible for federal unsubsidized Stafford Loans. Interest will accrue throughout the life of the loan, but you are not required to make interest payments while in school.
The amount of money graduate students can borrow in Stafford Loans is set by the federal government, but is tied directly to the cost of attendance for your academic program. Therefore, it varies widely within the University’s graduate programs. Your admissions recruiter and the Financial Aid Office can give you more information about how much loan money you may qualify for.
Stafford Loans for graduate students that are disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, will have an interest rate of 6.00%
The origination fee (sometimes called a loan fee) will be 1.066% for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017. The origination fee will be 1.068% for loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018.
You do not have to make payments on your Stafford Loans while you are in school. Repayment begins six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time (six credits for undergraduate students; four credits for graduate students), and lasts at least 10 years. However, your loan servicer may provide other options for deferment or graduated repayment depending on your financial circumstances when you are no longer is school. There is no penalty for prepayment.
If you have never borrowed a Federal Stafford Loan before, then you must complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). You also must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. Both of these items can be done online using your FSA ID. These documents only need to be completed one time (rather than annually, like the FAFSA). They will be good for all of the Stafford Loans that you borrow while attending North Park.
Both of these items, the MPN and Entrance Counseling, must be received by the Financial Aid Office before your loan can be processed.
Graduate PLUS Loans
If you are a graduate student, and you have borrowed your annual limit of Federal Stafford Loans, then you can apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan, which is a credit-based loan guaranteed by the federal government.
- The current interest rate is a fixed 7.00%. Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, will have an origination fee of 4.264%. Loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2018, will have an origination fee of 4.272%.
- Repayment begins 60 days after the final disbursement has been sent to North Park and the repayment term is up to 10 years. You do have the option to defer payment while you are enrolled at least half-time (four credit hours per semester). You can choose this option when you complete the PLUS Loan Application or by contacting Direct Loan Servicing at (800) 557-7394 after the loan has been disbursed. There is no penalty for prepayment.
- Two documents must be completed for this loan to be processed: the Grad PLUS Loan Application and, if your loan is approved, the Grad PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note. Both are completed online using your FSA ID.
We recommend exhausting all federal financial aid options before applying for a private loan as private loans are not regulated by North Park or the government. They are often not as favorable as the PLUS and/or unsubsidized Stafford Loans in terms of fees, interest rates, and repayment schedules.
If you do determine that you need to access a private loan as part of your college funding plan, the following details are important to consider:
- Most dependent students will need a credit-worthy cosigner to be approved for a private loan.
- The application process and terms of the loan (interest rate, repayment terms, etc.) are set on an individual basis, and are usually related to the credit of the borrower and his or her cosigner. Make sure you read and understand all of the terms of the loan before you agree to borrow these funds.
- Some private loans require a school certification, so the loan is added to your account as pending aid and the funds are sent directly to North Park. Others do not, so the funds are sent directly to you. Once you receive loan funds that are sent directly to you, you must make a cash/check payment to North Park. Be advised that direct-to-consumer loans are often more expensive than loans that require school certification.
- ELMSelect provides a valuable tool for finding the right private loan to meet your needs.
Students who leave North Park are required to complete exit counseling for their federal student loans (Stafford, Perkins, and Nursing Loans, if applicable). Exit counseling will explain to you your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. While you may have already paid off your loans, made payment arrangements with your lenders and servicers, or will be continuing your education elsewhere (which means that you will not begin repayment at this time), this exercise will provide you with valuable information about your student loans.
It is likely that you have borrowed multiple types of federal and/or private loans. You may have borrowed funds from a variety of lenders or loans may have since been sold to another lender/servicer. It is important to keep track of what you borrowed and who currently owns your loans so that you remain current on your accounts. You can access your federal loan history online. You will need your FSA ID to access your records.
- Exit counseling can be completed online. You must complete an exit session for each loan type that you borrowed while at North Park as each program has its own rules and regulations. The Financial Aid Office will receive your information electronically.
- Stafford Loan Exit Counseling session can be done online. You will need your FSA ID to complete the counseling session.
- All Perkins and Federal Nursing Loan Exit Counseling sessions are completed online.
One final note as you leave North Park and enter repayment: Please make sure that you keep your contact information up to date with your lender/servicer. Name and address information updated at North Park will not be forwarded to your lender/servicer.