Loans are awarded after eligibility for grants has been considered. (A grants is "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).
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.
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.
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).
Once you have completed the online Exit Counseling session, the information will be sent electronically to the Financial Aid Office.
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.