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Loans

Loans are offered after eligibility for grants has been considered. (Grants are "free" money for education. Learn more about available grants.) Student loans should be borrowed with the full realization that the money must be repaid with interest. There are several types of student loans, so it is important to understand the terms and conditions of each loan. You may access your total outstanding loan balance and view your Loan Servicer contact information via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).  

Loan Types

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Direct Subsidized Loans are awarded to students with financial need. The Financial Aid staff will review the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and determine the amount you can borrow.
Loan Terms

  • No interest accumulates on the Subsidized Loan while the student is attending at least half time.
  • If the student drops below half time status, the grace period begins.
  • All loans have an origination fee.
  • Repayment begins after the end of the grace period.

There is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. For more information, please see the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Limit guidance.


For more information, visit studentaid.ed.gov.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

You are not required to demonstrate financial need to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Like Subsidized Loans, the Financial Aid staff will determine the amount you can borrow based on the results of your FAFSA. Interest accrues on an Unsubsidized Loan from the date of disbursement.

Loan Terms

  • Interest begins accumulating on the Unsubsidized Loan when the funds are disbursed to the student.
  • If the student drops below half time status, the grace period begins.
  • All loans have an origination fee.
  • Payments can be made on the Unsubsidized Loan at any time.
  • Repayment begins after the end of the grace period.

For more information, visit studentaid.ed.gov.


Direct Loan Borrower Annual and Aggregate Loan Limits

Annual Loan Limits
Grade LevelMaximum SubsidizedUnsubsidizedTotal Yearly Amounts
Freshman (DEP)$ 3,500$ 2,000$ 5,500
Freshman (IND)$ 3,500$ 6,000$ 9,500
Sophomore (DEP)$ 4,500$ 2,000$ 6,500
Sophomore (IND)$ 4,500$ 6,000$ 10,500
Aggregate Loan Limits
ClassificationMaximum SubsidizedUnsubsidizedMaximum Total
Undergraduate (DEP)$ 23,000$ 8,000$ 31,000
Undergraduate (IND)$ 23,000$ 34,500$ 57,500

You may access your total outstanding loan balance and view your Loan Servicer contact information via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Federal PLUS Loan (Parent Loan)

PLUS Loans enable parents with good credit histories to borrow to help pay the education expenses of each child who is an eligible dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half-time (6 credits).

Your child must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time and making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). In addition, parents and their child must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens with a domestic address. PLUS Loans are not processed until the student's financial aid has been awarded.

To be eligible for a PLUS Loan, the parent must pass a credit check that indicates they do not have adverse credit history. For the PLUS loan, adverse credit history is defined as being 90 or more days delinquent on any debt or having any debt within the past five years subjected to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off.

To apply, please complete the following documents:

Step 1: Complete the PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) online, AND

Step 2: Print, complete and return the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Request.

If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, the Financial Aid Office will proceed based on the parent's preference as indicated on the PLUS Loan Request. Parents may find a co-signer or the student may borrow additional Unsubsidized Loan based on annual loan limits.

Wisconsin Nursing Student Loan

The Nursing Student Loan Program provides loans to Wisconsin residents who are enrolled at least half-time in Registered Nursing or Licensed Practical Nursing programs. The maximum award per year is $3,000 with an overall maximum of $15,000.

If you participate in this program you must agree to be employed as a licensed nurse in Wisconsin. For each of the first two years that you work as a nurse and meet the eligibility criteria, 25% of the loan is forgiven for a maximum of 50% forgiveness. The balance remaining after forgiveness must be repaid at an interest rate not to exceed 5%.

If you do not work as a nurse and meet the eligibility criteria, the loan must be repaid at an interest rate not to exceed 5%. Funds are limited and are awarded as appropriate. You must complete the state participation agreement to receive your loan funds.

Alternative (Private) Loans

Alternative loans are used to help bridge the gap between the cost of your education and the amount available from federal and state grants and loans. Alternative loans typically carry higher interest rates and fees than federal loans. The loan programs differ, so it is important that you know the terms and conditions of the loan, as well as, your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

It is recommended that students borrow wisely. Before you look at alternative loans, please make sure that you have exhausted all possible federal and state financial aid funds available. Our office strongly recommends that students file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before applying for private loans.

Alternative loans for the next academic year will not be processed prior to August. Most lenders require a credit check which is only valid for 90 days. Please keep this in mind when applying for alternative loans.

Entrance Counseling

The Department of Education states that all first time borrowers complete Entrance Counseling before receiving a Federal Direct Stafford Loan.  Entrance Counseling is an online tutorial designed to help you better understand your rights and responsibilities as a Direct Stafford Loan borrower.

HOW TO: Complete your Direct Loan Entrance Counseling

Follow the steps listed below once you have opened Studentloans.gov, the Department of Education online student loans portal. NOTE: Make sure you complete Entrance Counseling NOT Financial Awareness Counseling.

Begin Entrance Counseling >>

Master Promissory Note

HOW TO: Complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note

All students receiving a Federal Direct Stafford loan are required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).  The MPN is the agreement to repay the loan and covers multiple loan disbursements during your academic career. The expiration is 10 years from the date signed. To complete your MPN please go to https://studentloans.gov.

Direct Loan Exit Counseling

The Department of Education states that all Federal Direct Stafford loan borrowers complete Exit Counseling.  Exit Counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half time enrollment. Exit Counseling provides important information you need to prepare to repay your federal student loan(s).  At the end, you will need to provide the name, address, e-mail address and telephone number for your next of kin, two references who live in the United States and current or expected employer information (if known).

Begin Loan Exit Counseling

Once you have completed the online Exit Counseling session, the information will be sent electronically to the Financial Aid Office.

Loan Repayment

GradReady is a free, online resource that helps students finance a higher education, manage student loans and repayment, and build personal finance skills. Learn more about managing your tuition, budget, and bills.

Default Rates

NWTC 3-Year Cohort Default Rates (CDRs)

The cohort default rate is the percentage of a school's students who had certain federal student loans enter repayment in a federal fiscal year and then default prior to the end of the second fiscal year. 

Cohort Year: Represents loans that first entered repayment during this first federal fiscal year.
Year Published: The official cohort default rate was calculated and announced to the public during this calendar year.
Rate: The cohort default rate for loans used to attend NWTC. 

Cohort Year: 2017
Year Published: 2020
Rate: 14.7%
National Rate: 9.7%

Cohort Year: 2016
Year Published: 2019
Rate: 16.2%
National Rate: 10.1%

Cohort Year: 2015
Year Published: 2018
Rate: 18.8%
National Rate: 10.8%